Chapter 21

The ups and downs, or my perception thereof

For months I went over to Vancouver every two weeks, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of time”. Or more accurately stated, it wasn’t the best, and some days it truly was the worst. One time, on a bad week, I woke up in my room only to find the others that I had been sharing it with, had passed away during the night, all three of them! On bad nights I could hear, what could only be called, agony down the hall, calling all night through, only to find out the next morning that they had passed away. On bad weeks I would watch as they tried to find the veins of some of the other patients in my room only to, after numerous pokes, resorting to finding a vein in the ankle.

There were always ups and downs, it hurt to listen to a young mother giving her farewell talk to her children before going in for a surgery she wasn’t expected to survive. Or to arrive week after week for treatment only to notice who wasn’t there anymore, they didn’t tell you, you just would notice. On bad weeks I would pity myself for losing all my wonderful thick hair.

And then, on good weeks I would wear my totally in fashion, top of the line, platinum blond, Farrah Faucet wig, and prance into the hospital liked I owned the place. (To this day I enjoy wearing wigs, they have been a great source of fun). For me, it became easier to find petty things to feel bad about, things that I felt I had more control over, as with my diet. I still took a large regimen of vitamins. I held firm to the belief that I had control of my health; I wanted my healthy cells to be as strong as possible. And yet, once in a while I would find it difficult to stick to this now totally ingrained healthy diet I had become so knowledgeable about. (Try drinking goats’ milk and eating whole wheat, no sugar, cakes, and not get a little pessimistic).

I’ve read somewhere that the branches of knowledge reach ever up to heaven and its roots grow ever closer to hell. The more I knew about what I should be doing the more difficult it was to find a release that didn’t have a negative action attached to it. Some days I felt so low that I just couldn’t take it anymore, so much so that I did what to some, might seem a bit suicidal, …I went to the Dutch Bakery (just about the best Bakery in Victoria BC) and pigged out on mocha tarts!! Just one bite and I began wondering if life, just maybe, was still worth living. By one whole tart, I had a ridiculous besotted grin from ear to ear. After half a dozen in one sitting I was ill, sickly happy, and ready to resume chemo! (Just writing this puts a stupid grin on my face). I still believe to this day that the Dutch bakery played a large part in saving my life, if it wasn’t for the heaven I experienced when I discarded my diet and ate their tarts, I’m sure I would have quit the chemotherapy program long before I did.

This was when I came to realise that anything, anything, to excess is bad for you, even healthy eating, (or worrying about healthy eating,) as well as such things as the pressures I had taken on to expect that I could, or should, always be positive. I still held to my beliefs about diet, positive attitude, positive perceptions and that people don’t necessarily always die of cancer, there are probably more ways that you could die than there are starts in the sky, do we worry about them all or just all those closest to what could possibly happen? I realised the possibility was always going to be out there, I just didn’t need to be an extremist about any of it, being an extremist is stressful and we all know what stress does to the immune system.

So I ate right, most of the time. Took my vitamins, most of the time. Exercised some of the time. Scrubbed my skin almost viciously with my towel, (to eliminate any dead cells), whenever I remembered. I suppose this balancing act could be seen as a lesson in temperance. I continued to become as knowledgeable as possible about what I was working with, and allowed for days that I just needed to have a break from what was good for me.