The long weekend did me some good even though (or maybe because) I slept through more than half of it. I struggled not to go out on Black Friday but my hand was forced when I found that the only food I had on hand was a can of tuna that very likely would have killed me (it took half a can of Airwick to mask the smell). Thankfully I had the energy to deal with the evening traffic, though it was a short drive and any problems I encountered were more the usual sort: elderly folks who really can't see well enough to drive anymore. As someone who has had trouble with the blinding furnaces that pass for headlights these days, they have my sympathy. They just have much more of it when they're not forcing me to do 20 in a 45.
My parents and I celebrated the holiday on Saturday, though traffic was still heavy enough that I had to take the back roads. They still can't cook. I brought a jar of gravy in the hopes Mom would notice that it was not "her gravy" - which is to say not au jus with all the fat skimmed off - and she seemed afraid of it once it started bubbling in its saucepan. It wasn't a bad evening. We didn't fight, and they seemed very happy to see me. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that.
I've been having some minor headaches still, occasionally a little twinge behind one eye or the other, or a stiffness to the nape of my neck. The pain is hard to describe, almost like a sinus pain. Worrying, as they remind me of pains I had before my surgery, which were alleviated afterwards. Pains due to pressure. I'm about due for another round of chemo but I don't really know what sort of impact that will have. It seems impossible that my cancer could have grown so much, so quickly that it'd be causing pressure headaches again. Maybe it's a side-effect of the chemo? But then why would it kick in so long after I took the stuff? I don't even know if it matters. There's not much they could give me to treat it, no matter what it is. Just steroids, and I don't want to be on those for the next two years.
Even so, it makes me nervous. It's more than a pain in the neck (ha!). It's a sign of things to come. I can brush off my fears, the terrible awareness of my sickness, all that because most of the time I don't feel that bad. A little tired? That's not unusual for me. No appetite? I could stand to lose a few pounds. Trouble focusing? I just need a challenge. But pains from within my head are harder to explain away. I know they'll get more severe over time. Even if they aren't serious now - even if they aren't even meaningful now - they will be someday. Someday I won't be able to ignore my disease because it will refuse to be ignored. It will be a constant presence, crushing itself into my consciousness, and it'll get worse and worse until there's nothing left but the pain and the confusion.
And then I'll die. I probably won't even be aware of it, which I'd say is a small mercy, except I don't know what I'll be "aware" of at that time. Will I pass in a calm sleep? Will my last thoughts be of battling hallucinations and delusions? Will I be aware of those at my bedside, or will I die alone?
I know these thoughts do me no good and I try not to obsess. They're still just an intellectual exercise for me: imagining how it might be for someone else to die of brain cancer. Except eventually, the disease will intrude so profoundly upon my life that I can no longer ignore it or bottle it down inside. That bottle will shatter, and when it does, I fear what shall issue forth.
So, yeah, Happy Thanksgiving.