Monday, January 07, 2008

Ready for Round 3

(1/07/08) 1:08 am


So it's 1am and by all rights I should be in bed. Seemed like a little late night message was in order, though. I suppose it'll get easier the more of these I do, but there's a certain amount of dread that comes this night, the night before chemo. I'm not sure what it is, really. On the one hand, it's a positive thing - another dose of curative chemicals to wash out those evil little buggers hanging out in my body. On the other hand, it means more days in the hospital, a place in which I would prefer to spend the least amount of time possible, as a patient anyway. In my research I come into the hospital all the time - there's something fun and exciting about that. From the other side, there's lots more pain and frustration, but there's also gratitude to be found in the system that is helping you get better.

It's funny how people always say that this sort of event (insert life changing occurrence) makes you come out the other side vowing not to take anything for granted. To some extent I think we all wish to live our lives this way, with or without any life-changing event - to appreciate every little act of kindness, every moment with friends and family and the people we care about - even the time with the people close to us who drive us nuts, because deep down somewhere there's a link back to what makes you who you are. We feel beholden by a new lease on life to appreciate every detail, every moment - but honestly, doesn't that in itself become exhausting? Perhaps some people can do it, but I like to think the rest of us merely try to stay afloat, and keep the balance so that most of the time we're netting positive.

In someways it's like a new year's resolution with more umph behind it. "Man, when I beat this thing, I'm going to go out and blah blah blah like there was no blah blah!" And to some extent, I think that's true. For me, once my chemo is done, my plan is to not spend any more time doing anything that doesn't get my excited and pumped up in the morning (who knows how I'll figure out what that is, but I'm sure I'll figure it out somehow). In the meantime, though, I have the reality check of the practical, daily routine. And this time, that means, get to go to the hospital in another few hours and sit there for 5 days while the drugs do their work. Let us say that does not create in me a huge sense of excitement.

However, at this time, I choose to focus my energies outward. This time, going into treatment, I've decided not to muse with an "oh woe is me" attitude for having to get through another five days of treatment by the best doctors and nurses in the country (world?), figuring out what books and video games and DVDs and computer software will keep me most occupied . . .

Instead, I've been thinking a lot about my friends in Kenya. About folks whose country was on the verge of a peaceful, democratic election and transition of power but who now face nightly screams and gunshots outside their windows, and riots in the streets. I'm worried for their safety of course, but more importantly I'm worried for their spirit, their ability to rebuild and continue on after such events have passed.

When we think about not taking things for granted, we usually talk about cherishing moments with our friends and families, enjoying nature, paying attention to our health, etc. Few of us go as far as to be grateful for a stable system of government, for a mostly peaceful existence despite being at war (not meaning to go into anything about the current state of US wars here), for the ability to continue on with our daily lives as if nothing of consequence is happening in the world. On the flipside, if one chooses to take an interest in these things, if one wants to be involved in international politics or is touched by these events in some way (perhaps through family or friends or what have you), how does one then balance the dichotomy of living a life that contains Wiis and iPods and sweet digital cameras with the desire to be a part of something greater, something that may influence the lives of those people, who not only have none of those things but who live in such a fragile part of the world? How does one even complain about hospital food when there are people struggling to get any food at all?

Anyhow, I don't mean to get too philosophical here, but this is what happens when I muse late at night AND decide to write about it. As I go in for round 3, to all my friends in Kenya - Susan, Isaac, Kanja, Evalyn, Bridgit, Vincho, Neema, Stella, and the whole crew, and to the boys in Zambia, who are living on the edge and struggling to survive - Theo, Billy, Ernest - stay strong, stay positive, and I'll do the same.

6 comments:

Jeff said...

Good luck with round 3 Alex!

Jeff said...

Actually, I have links to the Cosmos Education site etc. in my email, but could you possibly post them somewhere as related links on the blog as well? Could be handy to have easy links to your various interests etc. in case anyone feels like a bit of perusal - I know that I would like that, at least.

sushihater said...

wait, i thought science geeks were supposed to be terrible writers... You are a fraud!

~joe

sally said...

thanks for the thoughtful post, alex. you're so right that we want to live our lives without taking things for granted, and reading this helps me get my own perspective balanced. hope chemo is going well, as well as can be. sally

Vincho said...

Lexxo, Happy new year!
Thanks for the blog and even though I have not mailed you for some time, my spirit is with you.I'am counting on you coming through all. I know this. See you sooner than you think. Just wait and see...

Anonymous said...

What a great post, Alex! :)
-Carrie