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Life After Chemotherapy

Life after chemotherapy is like getting a re-start on a computer game.  You have been beat up a little, but hopefully you have “leveled up” and now are a stronger character.  And suddenly the desires you have dreamed about but never started become a priority.  Chemotherapy and cancer is like getting a kick in the ass, a wake up call.  My life, your life, is but a nanosecond in the construct of the ages. I have 2 talents, and until cancer and chemo I dreamed about them but allowed the irritating details of like to suck the energy from me, so I never tried to develop them.  I love to write and create poems. I love to sing, and I have an unusual soprano 1 voice. As to poetry,  I am not a great poet, not even a good one, but it is a therapeutic hobby that I have sporadically delved into, writing on sticky notes, email, papers, whatever I could get my hands on when I had the inspiration.  I tossed them in  a pile and said, “Someday”.  I moved Someday to Now, and I now carve out what ever  free time I have to think and write.  My poems will never be praised by the world at large, but they are meaningful to me and have a story to tell. I hope that you will be able to connect with some of them as my topics have a wide range.

As to singing, I have terrible Performance Anxiety, but I went to see a psychiatrist who has helped me with medication, and I can get up and sing without fainting now!  I hope to put some songs on this site…..eventually.

The poem below was written at a time when I was overwhelmed with what will most likely be permanent side effects from Taxol. Unlike my other cancer poems, it is a bitter and anguished response to the poison that I received that has left me with problems I deal with every minute of every day. I hope this gives you a feeling of the struggles some people have to live with after chemo.

“Life After Chemo

 My body now lives a life that is split:

before the poison of chemo and after it.

I vaguely knew that this gamble could lose

with side effects that might be really bad.

But looking back I would not choose

the horrific side effects I now have.

Now I jazz to the title of  “post chemo blues”.

 

Blue hands and feet, always cold.

Nerve damage makes them painful and numb.

I’m catapulted from middle age to old;

walking slow and difficult by the end of day.

 

Taste once a cake, now a crumb,

strange and blunted,  gone away.

Veins  fragile, easily bruised;

some days like a woman abused.

 

Now Im trying to find new clues

to increasing short term memory loss.

I lose items, forget what I have done.

My brain is foggy, boggy like moss;

words, hard to remember, quickly gone.

Sadness upon sadness seems mine alone.

 

“Wait 30 months”, my oncologist said.

“Injured nerves  take time to heal.”

But I am frightened and full of dread

that nerve damage will stay all too real.

 

I have lost much in my battle with this beast.

I can deal with these problems if I must.

But my memory loss will finally release

bitterness in this thinning crust.

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