Ashes to Ashes

Radiation in my beggar’s

Bones all lit up

By a lantern flame

Flickering like a firefly

In a canning jar.

I stand around the ash can

To warm my hands.

Sipping bitter coffee

Wearing just rags and flannels

Knees buckle and shiver

I wait for the hand with my

Next toxic cocktail.

All of the elixirs and,

I believe only in dreams of god.

To help with integrity

I never owned.

Defining words like Fractionated

Making decisions like tattoos

Permanence steals from what’s really

Life. Starring in a propaganda

Film – short and to the point

Before the feature film

Memory creates fiction

All lies and deceptions of the mind.

Unable to complete

The prescribed treatments

Back to the spine in a row

And leave me disavowed

I never knew such exhaustion existed.

Offers of investigational higher dosage

Yet a higher risk and I fail to rise again

No Lazarus I, slump over

And crumple at the criteria.

Unfit for the clinics best trial,

Not willing to take a risk

On someone so vile I slip a disc.

Instead another tour

Of the war on cancer I return

Where the real criminals get paid.

There’s the evidence flashing

In black and white 8mm frames

Japanese made everything then

Including the front page

Words unkind to places like Nagasaki and Okinawa.

What’s a Bikini atoll?

Where did the Whiteite Sands desert observers

All turned inside out

Children now dying of cancer

All those mutations

Years after the negatives

So dissolved like the bones

And the hair and the

Groans of despair.

Where in he darkness

The clouds reigned supreme.

Is this only a stomach ache

Does my pounding head

Mean anything to the first

Boys running away from their pictures

What kind of photographer

Can believe in a science

Once used to capture our nature

Now looking for snowballs

Melted in hell.

No scarring and burning

It’s deep and linear Acceleration radiation

But upon waking up from

A dream I scream

Silently as the fallout

Covers statues with

Dirty ash. My foggy thoughts of wakefulness

Interrupted by exhaustion

Drops me into a dream

And my beggar’s bones

Standing around the ashcan

Where all the incinerated go.

Researchers attempting to demystify cancer-related fatigue

Fatigue caused by cancer and it’s treatments categorically is no mystery to anyone who lived or lives through the ravaging effects of non targeted whole body chemotherapy. Mitochondria run the energy centers of our cells and chemo damages all of our cells and halts or shows their regeneration. And depending on the type of cell it is: blood, skin, squamous, brain, the longer our body needs to produce a new cell. And the more complex its function is in the human body the more energy and time it needs to become part of our systems again.

Flirting my biology degree peeking from under my petticoat, it makes sense even to the layperson, that the attention paid to fatigue caused by chemotherapy and by cancer itself, as with constipation, mandutirially be addressed earlier in the treatment protocol. Cancer-related fatigue effects +/- 50% of breast cancer patients receiving chemo, and from the time we receive it for another five to 10 years. I suppose it’s a wonder I’m awake and writing but my fatigue and bouts of insomnia exterminated my circadian rhythms with DDT. I exaggerate but you get the point, so read on for an expert or two from Singapore – yep all the way in the Far East – where researchers finally attempt to answer some questions for us, the weary, and our medical teams.

Breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy often experience severe and persistent tiredness. In a recent study, a team led by researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) developed a novel approach to identify the onset of this common side effect and objectively follow its development. Currently, cancer-related fatigue is mainly self-reported by patients, and there […]

via Researchers demystify cancer-related fatigue in breast cancer patients — Tech Explorist

My Cancer Ate My Patience

My patience left my body and vocabulary not so long ago. It buried itself in our unorganized two car garage near the washer and dryer. It’s adverb “patiently” waiting and hiding from other eyes under some mildewed, smelly step kid laundry I refuse to wash after two years. Taken over by the comfort of its new quarters among the old mops and Christmas ornaments, antifreeze and hummingbird feeders, “patiently” or to have “patience” sagged under the weight of the now often used noun, “patient.” Three years ago my body released my patience into a hospital’s diseased ambiance where I could smell the white hot death on the oncology floor creeping up the walls.

My long term memory laid off the verb, “wait,” and the adverb, “quietly,” at the same time as my frontal lobe got rid of the adjective, “unwilling.” If you ask me for the temporary use of my body and if I’m willing to try any and all curative measures, I’d probably answer yes, I’m willing to loan you my corpus.

You see my vocabulary tricks the wiliest of Metastatic disease, which believes it plays me like a fiddle. I can outsmart it. Or at least I think I can, by speaking a new language heretofore unheard of in my mind. Now, I look down at my body sinking in the hot water of a bath, a body somewhat unrecognizable as my own, changed by the disease and it’s treatments. So why not trick it into submission? Makes sense to me.

I fired a bunch of words and I had to replace them eventually, so I hired a few that were only temporary consultants before. Words full of hope and also full of cynicism. For instance, I have ADHD, yet “attention” became a core word. All great accomplishments require everything you’ve got to accomplish the milestones to meet the goal. All else must go by the wayside either permanently or temporarily until the goal is met. “Focus” took over for those other emotions, like “acquiescence,” by people without cancer.

You might have tasted the flavor of what I am attempting to communicate during your time spent worrying before and after tests to detect early signs of cancer. This might be the only chance for a non-cancer person to have a sliver of a glimpse into how we Cancer people live. There’s no one who does not harbor some fear of hearing the words, “I’m sorry but,” start a sentence in s physician’s office. Witness a modern day woman having a routinely unpredictable mammogram…

No one questions my excuses anymore. I realized cutting open my guts and letting the weaker emotional crows fly out of my stomach, I feel justified in freeing myself of such mortal emotions like “afraid.” Post diagnosis, while I sat in bed at the hospital, still reeling under the side effects of the diagnosis and the numbing effects of pain medication, these schisms in my psyche spilt open, now scarred over. During my stay I only recall when I took walks around the nurses station glaring at them who glared at me for intruding upon their gossiping. I slowly paced myself rolling the hanging bags of Dilauded and saline solution, as salty as blood, for hydration tapped directly into my veins. What are you two looking at?? I’m not sick enough yet for you?

Now who am I to ignore “frustration;” my ire beginning to well up in my stomach like “nausea,” which I recently learned to spell correctly. No one should have to use the word “nausea” this much. “Frustration” took over for “patience” and “calm.”

Unwilling people frustrate me most of all. Unwillingness to consider an opinion, to participate in an event, to try new or different, to taste a small forkful of something. There’s also a kind if snobbery, a “my way/ taste/ qualities beat yours so therefore I refuse to consider your opinion,” to unwilling people. Someone unwilling to try a simple medication to relieve high blood pressure for instance really pisses me off, makes me Yosemite Sam jumping mad.

Notice the huge bag of pills I must take to manage symptoms, pain, constipation, nausea, in addition to the pills I took before all the cancer nonsense. It’s not that I lack empathy; I am plenty empathetic. I’m simply unwilling to hear pathetic excuses for people not taking the care available to prevent internal fires from erupting before they burn out of control. I wish my box would arrive directly from Acme, Inc. containing my new Acme Hole, just like Bugs Bunny or Daffy Duck or Wile E. Coyote. If only…

But the apex of personal qualities I detest slightly more than “unwilling:” “dismissive.” To dismiss a problem with the wave of a hand, as though my thoughts in a matter mean nothing to the current wisdom behind a curative regimen. My side effects count. You cannot understand my view from the inside, but the literature gives authority through reading only. Dismissal doesn’t work for me when it takes the oncology team six vials of blood and two weeks of symptoms and patience to let them find out through reading my blood labs not the tea leave I read for them in the office. Apparently that’s for palliative oncology. Fine.

It seems the writers of pharmaceutical literature ran out of space on the twenty times folded onion skin six foot double sided map of contradictions, dosing, and possible physical side effects. Oh and the toll free number of who to call if you experience results that resemble anything besides what big pharma has allowed the public to know about the downside of treatment? The toll free number recommended: 911.

Side note: Can anyone recall the last time you worried about a toll charge on a domestic call? Did Pfizer move out of the country to Switzerland because of the quality skiing or the five language menagerie including Romansh? Just a small canton of people speak this official language of Switzerland. It’s like reading the literature included with a bottle of chemotherapy: not meant for anyone but officials to understand.

At home, depression though in treatment behaves rudely and handles difficulty with off-putting remarks. No one earns the right to refuse to answer a direct question in a relationship. If one opinion weighs more than mine, I cannot help but feel a nagging urgency to inflict physical harm, at least in more recent days. Today my simple request that The C please not to continue his negative questioning with the answers he wanted to hear built into the syntax of the question itself. His response was fully designed to rile me up. There were childish of retorts such as “it’s your own negativity bouncing back on you,” as if we’re in the third grade again and he’s “rubber and [I am] glue.”

I noticed much of the drivers of his outbursts arise due to self flagellation. He’s angry at himself, lambasting himself with frustration for things in the past and ruminating incessantly. For instance if he procrastinated and avoided dealing with an action and the fallout lands on his head like bird shit. Of course it becomes apparent to him that I am the cause. Everyone sees the cause (me) and the effect on him (negativity)?

It’s difficult to understand because of the questionable reality of the connection. This is depression at its most frustrating. The care giver becomes the rubbish bin for recycling blame.

Having cancer as well as being a care giver, I must remind myself to actually stop thinking, and just close my eyes and breathe. Neither controls my reality or my mood, though try they may through antagonism and emotionally destructive behavior. In actuality I control my sense of peace in being, no one and nothing else can unless I allow them to do so. However, the difficulty at times of making myself into a peaceful monk lies within my ability to extract my ego from the situation. I’m hurt, therefore I must defend myself.

All that defensive posturing creates an us versus them dynamic, and a fight ensues. How hard can it be to not take my own side? Very stupid. If I’d only given a moment to myself to remember that I am the only one who can imbue meaning onto anything at all and regard the facts not the fiction, I find a far better feeling of well being, and full presence of mind. But never patience.

So I have a degree in English not manners during the final episodes where Metastatic Cancer competes for my emotional range. And I’m really sorry, but the cancer ate my homework, and I’ll be late to charm school again. Miss Manners took the rest of the year off due to lack of attendance.