where the writers are
Friday: April 20, 2012

You might notice a large gap in the narrative. All I can offer are excuses.

I've sorely lacked the energy or words to commit anything to print. But I've begun to feel better. The flu-like funk is dissipating, but I still lack energy.

There are days even now when I do little more than sleep. A medical appointment or trip to the grocery store will cause me to slip into a sleep-filled fugue for several days.

My appetite is spotty. Mary Lou suggested I start drinking health shakes and smoothies again. I think she's right.

I've tried several times to write something in recent days, but quickly surrendered to my ennui. It's been too difficult. Words are elusive. I'm having cognition problems, the result of a mental fog known as "chemo brain."

I forget things that Mary Lou may have told me yesterday.

"Really?" I'll ask, incredulous. "You said that?"

She'll nod her head, her face a portrait of concern. I hope that, like this Godforsaken fatigue, it's temporary.

Some weeks ago, I mentioned that my brother-in-law's brother, Dick, had been diagnosed with an interstitial lung disease. After a biopsy several weeks ago,  his condition deteriorated to the point where he had to be flown from a hospital in Northwest Ohio to the ICU at Cleveland Clinic.

Doctors immediately put him on the list for a lung transplant. A week ago, they found him a lung. Yet before they could prep him for surgery, a blood clot formed and he died.

I did not know Dick well, but we had played golf together and found him to be a good guy. He fought hard to get a second chance and missed by a few hours. So unfair. He had just turned 60.

While the last month has been a much-needed period of recovery from the rigors of treatment, my respite won't last long. Next Thursday is the CAT scan that I hope will show I'm cancer free. On Friday, I will be fitted at the Clinic for the mask that I'll use for 15 sessions of prophylactic, whole brain radiation.

I've read just a bit about brain radiation and its side effects, which can be unpleasant. Here's a partial list: brain swelling, head aches, cognitive deficits, psychiatriac problems, nausea, vomiting and fatigue. I'm trying to fret about possibilities. There's nothing I can do but to tolerate and mitigate the side effects as best I can.

And I've not thought too much about the upcoming CAT scan. I don't have cancer. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

I need to muster the strength to fight the most immediate threat – fear. I need to banish it as best I can. Living in fear is no life at all.