Episode XXV: Still Alive
Here I go again, back to the Cancer Center. Back for another Neulasta shot. Back for another mysterious injection of bone pain. I was lucky enough to have little, or almost no time, to think about what was ahead, as my appointment was early and a friend was taking me. So, by all accounts I was looking forward to at least some of my treatment... good company. I was fortunate to have many laughs and good conversation to keep my mind off my very near future.
As usual, the pain and discomfort hit a bit later. Somewhere around mid-day I began noticing the slight cringe of pain in my feet and knees. Eventually, the sore aches and pain make arthritis discomfort seem like a mild nuisance. However, I was sideswiped with something not as common on the 'shot day'... nausea. Nothing like combining severe body pain with vomiting. Really, who doesn't enjoy the hurling motion while every ounce of their body feels like it was beaten with a baseball bat?
Pain, pain go away come again another day... no, wait don't come back!
I was indeed, unknowingly, headed into a 'perfect storm'. On top of the unwanted nausea, the shot took new effects, as it often can do. It attacked bottom up. Starting in my legs, which were my weakest link. Having undergone multiple knee surgeries on both legs, I knew that I was in trouble. My knees where like sore mechanical pain centers that buckled when I tried to walk. Of course, that would be too easy. The pain spread up my thighs into my hips up my back and into the shoulders. Thank goodness, my jaw was given a minor break even though my head hurt. However, I may have not noticed that pain since my overall body felt crushed.
I felt like Farnese Atlas...
“...if you saw Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, his arms trembling but still trying to hold the world aloft with the last of his strength, and the greater his effort the heavier the world bore down upon his shoulders - What would you tell him?"
"I…don't know. What…could he do? What would you tell him?"
- Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
In my head....
I can honestly say, I wanted to shrug. I wanted to release the pain, but instead I held on. Not necessarily because I wanted to, but because there was no other option. The week was by far the worst I have had. One that had compiled all the other AC Chemos and Neulasta shots making me weaker and more weary. The pain was by far greater and longer.
The week and the following one was about endurance. The simplest of touches could create bone wrenching pain. Walking could lead to unexpected falls due to an inability to handle knee buckling pain. Fingers so sore that taking pain pill became unthinkable. A fever inducing pain. The crackling of bones so loud that one would think something broke.
Me = Snap, Crackle, & Pop - Kellogg's Rice Krispies
I cannot even properly word the type of pain it causes, just that it hurts unlike anything else I have experienced. Each ache creating a new reaction leading to something else, often more problematic. Even the medicines or "cures" to a problem can create a new or worse problems. The cyclic pain tornado would eventually subside, but for me it would last longer and linger more than I really wanted.
“The world is indeed full of peril and in it there are many dark places.
But still there is much that is fair. And though in all lands, love is now
mingled with grief, it still grows, perhaps, the greater.”
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
Episode Reference: Still Alive, Portal Credits song