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Chemo glare on the dawn of a new Sunday morning

June 3, 2012

I often wake up in the middle of the night. I can feel a slight throb of pain where the surgeon cut above my groin to pluck the pulp of my testicle out of its sack. There is a adhesive sticky coating over the curved cut. It’s almost like I’ve been strip mined. I lay empty and the doctor walked off with money from mining me. I know that’s not accurate, because there’s healing involved against a cancer that could kill me. They had to remove it because it was abnormal–come on, I’m a guy, all testicles are abnormal! But there’s a stillness upon me. My body is a quiet landscape. I breath over it. My ears still ring from the post-chemo side-effects, and there’s a big difference between side effects and special effects. My legs feel heavier. There is a partial numbness in my feet. Each of my toes feels like they are tiny paper bags that crinkle when I bend them. My hair is slowly growing back. My scalp looks like a malnourished chia pet. Oddly, my whiskers are heavier too. The slight pain in my groin flares again. It’s less pain than I’ve felt before, like it’s sinking within me and getting absorbed by the depths of healthy tissue.

I turn over. Our dog Sevie is between me and Laurie on the bed. I pet her over an over, believing the kindness I show to the dog is a force that will keep cancer away from me. Cancer is not tender or kind. Take what it doesn’t have and bring it to your life. It’s the only defense against the cellular barbarian at the gate. I debate about going to take some medication to sleep but don’t. As I breath, I imagine each breath is a year in my life and I start at one. I think about my parents smiling and carrying me and holding me. I don’t remember this, but I know they did it, and I feel that. Each breath brings another year. Me in a Little League uniform trying to be like Mickey Mantle and playing center field. Different years. I lie there in bed and remember lying in another bed, hearing my parents downstairs, smelling eggs and keilbasi cooking for breakfast, and the news on the small radio that was atop the refrigerator. I’m there for a little while, shifting my legs on the sheets. I’m back from the memory clinging to a smile and swinging into the present powered by the gravity of the past. There’s a rising exuberance that somehow is a constant lull within me. It’s a force for the good. I keep hoping it’s a spirit telling me I’m not going to die just yet. Jez, talk about a way to wake up early on a Sunday morning!

I can’t sleep. I pet the dog’s stomach about forty times, then I just get up early. Put on the song “Forever” by the Beach Boys and write this.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Laureen permalink
    June 4, 2012 7:30 pm

    Speaking of writing…I Loved the book 🙂 He really hit the nail on the head…and you were right, the ending is wonderful..needed to grab some kleenex for that one! Hope your day is a good one ! Let me know if you want it back, if not ..I will pass it on 🙂

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