Chapter 9 – Road Kill

Chapter 9 – Road Kill

March 6

In the normal course of human events, this week was a real downer. I really have felt like road kill for the past 4 days. Initially, it was shaping up to be a fun week. My sister Nancy came to stay and kept me company through the first couple of nights after my long session of chemo. It was lovely to catch up with her. She is a great cook and I ate well.

But the following days, the fatigue became really severe and I was unable to do much of anything. This is extremely frustrating and probably one of the most difficult parts of the whole process. Along with the fatigue came a severe case of the tingles … the feeling that one’s blood is coursing through every blood vessel seeking an exit. Really nasty!

I finally realized that the body I have been with, lo these many years, is no longer really mine. It is now in the hands of some alien life form that chews away at all my little yummy parts and leaves me with the distinct impression that it is now ready for the check, and please clear up the mess and … Oh yes, a cappuccino and maybe a biscotti with it.

… Ah, for a biscotti that didn’t taste like cardboard after traversing the old chemo mouth.

But I digress.

The leftover me, that which is left from the feast of the body snatchers, is still here waiting to be rearranged, rewarmed, dressed, and taken out for the next treatment tomorrow. I wonder what my new alien self will be like when I meet her after chemo ends?  With luck, tall, slim and photogenic … with long legs that look good in jeans and maybe a firm jaw and good skin tone.

As if.

However, there really is no reason not to dive into the whole fantasy makeover thing! It isn’t as if what is happening to me isn’t surreal and sort of woo-woo anyway. And, it isn’t as if I can make other plans while this life crashes into the uncharted territory of the big C. And it certainly isn’t as if I have better things to do than explore my future as a comic book heroine.

Those little sharp-toothed barracudas feasting on my time and energy are due to be arrested soon. And no one will welcome that more than l.

And, in the tradition of super hero lore, perhaps new super powers shall be mine!!!


Aside from the nausea, one of the most tiresome side effects of my chemo treatment was the sense that my blood vessels were constantly being deep cleaned by highly charged electrodes traveling through my system.

In the middle of doing not much of anything, my body would be electrified by the sensation of blood coursing through every vein and capillary. It felt as if every blood cell was charged with electricity. My skin felt alive with bubbling corpuscles. I assumed that these “TINGLES and BUZZES” were a result of the chemo … in effect, it was changing the cellular configuration of my blood vessels along with all my other body parts. The zaps and zings I felt were evidence of chemo at work.

In fact, my blood vessels have indeed been changed by the chemo, and are now leathery and difficult to access. It is a challenge for a lab technician to insert a needle when blood work needs to be done. Apparently, this is a fairly normal side effect of chemo treatments in general, and does not change over the course of time. Chemo patients have learned to live with the down and dirty veins that make bloodwork an unpleasant fact of life.

In addition to the zaps and tingles, the fatigue had by this time become overwhelming. It contributed to an odd sensation that my body no longer belonged to me. It was beyond weird to feel so disconnected from my body. The lack of energy meant that for long stretches I drank copious amounts of liquid, and not much else. Getting up to prepare a meal, or heat up something to eat, became too overwhelming. The effort to eat a meal was beyond my capacity. Having such debilitating fatigue meant that I spent most of my time stretched out doing nothing. The isolation of my inner self from my corporeal body meant that preserving my sanity had top priority. Hence the extended periods of do-nothingness.

This email update is evidence that it was easier and took much less effort to ignore reality. Rather than come to grips with my blighted chemo-self, I could touch down in the fantasy world of happy endings and super heroes. It required only minimal energy to dream. So, the fanciful side of my imagination became my go-to destination of choice, whenever the nausea on fatigue overwhelmed me.

In this case …sad to say … the long legs and killer body of my dreams never materialized. Such a pity.

However, there was indeed a transformation of sorts. Maybe not the Spiderman or Wonder Woman type of transformation, but one that resulted in a different sort of super power … an internal, indomitable, inner resilience that comes from overcoming insuperable odds. In that respect, I feel set apart from the late, great, normal me, and have joined the legion of super-hero cancer survivors, who understand that not all super heroes wear spandex.

And, indeed, if I were a bit taller and had gotten those nice long legs, I would have definitely rocked the whole cape look. But, sadly, I look like an oversized bran muffin with legs when I try to wear a cape.

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