. . . does one collapse into the first stages of invalidism? When one no longer wants to get out of bed but to remain wrapped in the warmth of the deep red comforter? In sunlight. Feeling a little ill in the center of one’s being. Invalid.
. . . of the body deteriorating in the most minor ways. Left eye chronically waters, but is it just age or the disease? Same goes for a twitch in the neck, a secondary ringing in my right ear. What’s normal? What’s extraordinary? What’s acute & what steady state decline? Does sorting all this out make any difference? It’s a way of being alert, I suppose.
Typical late-Autumn weather for our part of the country. Cold & sodden. When I first got sick & was posting to the blog I found myself in a highly discursive mood; these days I have very little interest in explanation & for the time being at least these posts will be more like chart entries, though without any of the imposed regularity implied by the traditional notion of a chart. Loose, intuitive, even impulsive charts of perception & interpretation, then. Sending out signals. Do you remember spinning the dial on your grandfather’s old room-sized short-wave radio? Foreign languages? Static. Radio beacons. Morse code. A world, a room, filled with mysterious voices mediated through curtains of rain.
This is among the most useful short discussions of cancer pain I have run across. Addresses the psychological as well as the physical requirements of patients. This is a doctor who has actually observed patients in pain.
We are taught in Zen that even change changes, but we never really believe it. Even in the midst of change we expect to be able to extract moments of stability. Even in the midst of a disease like cancer, which is always changing, I have become lulled to the idea that I will have a period during which things remain more or less the same. I guess, depending on the scale one applies, this is more or less true; but at bottom there is no standing still.
All this was brought home to me this evening by a new pain in my pelvic bones, this time on the right center rather than the left. That is, I have been confronted by the possibility that my disease is spreading away from its site of origin. Actually, it has already done this, way up into my sternum, but there has been little or no pain associated with that spread. Without the pain, that change has seemed unreal.
But this pain has the potential to make walking even more difficult than it is now, which would amount to a major degradation of my condition. Now, a bit of rest seems to have diminished the problem, but it has caused me an evening of distress. I’m going to take it easy & chart the changers tomorrow & over the weekend then make a decision about whether or not to see the oncologist sooner than my regularly scheduled check-up in two weeks.
It’s not the pain itself
but what the pain itself
Without metaphor. No
walking, just falling in
to the arms of others
(this is no comfort) be
cause then everything
is depending on a kind
of singing. No singing.