Once every 28 days, for five days, I have my period.
I haven’t really written much about it because, I suppose, I am not sure what to make of the whole thing.
My period is different from and similar to those periods that women endure every month. Like women on the pill, mine is also pill-centric (just a different sort of pill). Like many women, there are days when my period is thoroughly and completely debilitating. Fortunately, my bout with periods just started last December and will come to an end at some point in the relatively near future.
Last December I started chemo for the remnant brain tumor occupying a small part of my head. As I have written and talked about elsewhere, this tumor is not of the acute sort – not the kind of horrible tumor that takes the lives of so many people. [For more information about brain tumors, go here.] Rather, mine is of that variety where the doctors are absolutely positive I am alive today and beyond that don’t have much to say – ok, I’m exaggerating a bit. But the truth is that I may have 50 years or a couple years. This is everyone’s reality – I am just a bit more aware of it because of things like regular MRIs and clinic appointments and my period.
The drug that I am on is a relatively mild drug. ‘Relatively’ being the operative word. The instructions say that if the pill breaks open and touches skin, one should immediately wash it off. This isn’t aspirin.
I am, however, spared so many of the horrors of chemo. I have my beautiful blonde locks – errr, my really short black hair. I haven’t lost huge amounts of weight – ok, i’ve gained 20 pounds but who is counting? I don’t have to go into the hospital and get hooked up to an IV – I take my own pills (that might not sound like a huge blessing but it is).
Yet, there are days when I know I am on chemo. It seems that about half the time my last day on the drug can be the other side of miserable. I have never experienced such violent illness in my life. Now, if I really wanted to be objective about things and see if I could get more sick to my stomach, I could, hmmm, what could I do? You know what? Let’s not go there. Suffice it to say that I can get really, really sick.
The other days that I am on the drug aren’t all that bad. Days one and two are really nothing burgers. Day three I get pretty tired and my stomach can feel a bit queasy – yesterday was day three and I discovered that a smoothie is a wonderful thing. I made my own with yogurt and OJ and ice and berries and protein and something called “life greens” and some toad ears and eye of newt and it was delightful. By day four (today) I can be pretty tired although today is feeling good. Then comes day five and it is what it is. Day six – the aftermath day I just feel wiped out. But by the seventh day I feel like myself.
I’m writing all of this for several reasons.
One, because I want to be as honest as humanly possible in this blog. I think Jesus likes that. And that means saying that there may be a day or two every month where I just don’t/won’t/can’t blog. From now on, if that happens, I’ll just say – “Got my period, go read….”
Two, my journey through this illness is like a lot of people’s journeys through illness. I want to be invisible about that part of my journey. And perhaps encourage others who are going through trials in their own life. To that end, for those who are interested, here is a link to a previously private web page that was set up for me in 2003. It contains my journal entries, notes from Kim and notes from friends. It is raw and true, some of the truest things I’ve ever written if only because things were just so much clearer then. There weren’t any distractions – it was all about life.
Third, I didn’t want to be afraid of writing about it. I didn’t want to be afraid of being known as the “brain tumor guy with a blog.” I didn’t want to be viewed as a victim. I abhor pity. I have never wanted to be defined by some cells growing in my head. I am not and that is why it is OK to write this post.
Finally, this blog always has been and will always be a hodgepodge blog that touches on everything from pop culture to politics to personal piety (sorry, I couldn’t resist alliteration’s temptation). That isn’t going to change. This post simply gives you a better insight into the person writing the blog.
Thank you for being part of this journey and letting me be part of yours. It is a really wonderful privilege.