Writing, for me, tends to be best accomplished when the sun has not yet risen and the world is still half-asleep. Morning is the time of the day when I do my best thinking, when words come a little easier to me. It’s the time of day when a large cup of coffee holds magic, when the curved back of a sleeping cat puts life into perspective.
It’s rare that I sit down to write at night. And, yet, that’s exactly when this particular blogpost was written. These words found their place on my computer screen, not when the shadows in the room were shortening, but when they began to grow longer. They came to me in the absence of both coffee and of our cats (the boys are still on vacation at their grandparents’ house). I’d say that writing in the evening is a strange development, but, considering that most of my usual habits have been pitched out of the window, is it so strange?
As many of you know, this last month has been one of tremendous change. I crossed the mysterious border separating the healthy and the ill, reacquiring a diagnosis of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). I wear a leg brace on my lower left leg now, because the tumor has caused some neurological damage to that foot. At different points in the last thirty days, I have had varying hairstyles—my natural locks, dyed red hair, and now only a soft stubble (which will probably fall out in the next week or two). I went from being device-free to having both a chest port and an Ommaya Reservoir in my head.
Change, it seems, is the rule of my days.
This constant inconsistency has been, I will admit, a bit unnerving. There are moments when it’s hard to digest everything that has happened and everything that will happen, but change is also a powerful teacher.
What do I mean by that? Well, each day presents me with a new set of changes and/or challenges; my problem-solving skills have never been so well-utilized! Can’t drink coffee because it’s too acidic? Add Ovaltine to it and only drink three-fourths of a cup (so I can still get my caffeine fix). Can’t have big meals due to nausea? Eat small snacks. Can’t get rid of the smell of the hospital? Explore aromatherapy and diffusing essential oils.
The fact that so much of my life—and my subsequent treatment plan—seems to err on the side of impermanence is also teaching me about flexibility. In truth, I really don’t know what I am doing for treatment beyond next week. My schedule looks like this:
Thursday – Chemo via the Ommaya and a bone marrow biopsy
Monday – Initial consult in Boston for the bone marrow transplant and tissue-typing
Tuesday – More chemo via the Ommaya
Beyond that? Well, there are ideas including a chemotherapy regimen that stretches into June and a course of radiation at the end of it, but all of that could change depending on the results of both the biopsy and the consult in Boston. Is that anxiety-provoking? Absolutely! I am a planner. I don’t like not knowing what’s going to happen, but this is a reality I have to learn to live with. To accept. To somehow survive and thrive in.
And, that, maybe is why I wrote this at night—to reassure myself that change, even when it is uncomfortable, can be positive. It doesn’t always have to be feared; it can be a tool to make us more adaptable. Maybe change can even be embraced; it can be a yoga partner, teaching us to stretch ourselves open up to new asanas and possibilities.
Tomorrow is going to be a difficult day, Dear Readers. Bone marrow biopsies are not pleasant experiences. Please pray that the procedure goes smoothly. Please pray that the results are in my favor. And, if you are able, please send light and love.
With Love, Laura