Wonderer


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Fourth of July

Its the 4th of July and almost 11 PM . K tells me something that makes me smile and wonder.

He says ” Remember 4th of July , last year?”

4th of July 2012 .

It had been a month since I had been diagnosed with cancer. A month of docs, tests, scans, biopsies, more doctors, second third fourth fifth opinions. And 4th of July 2012 , was the day I would begin the dreaded chemo.

The day begins bright and sunny as most days in Singapore , but the inside of my head is cloudy. I cant form a coherent thought. I consider praying for something, except I am not sure what. That the chemo be easy on me? But what if that made it easy on the cancer too. No, I want the chemo to hit me (and the cancer )with everything it had. Would I be able to hold up? So in the end , I look up at the heavens and say ‘Make it okay in the end.’

The day before I had had a day surgery to get the port installed in my right fore arm , which was a very traumatic experience with a quack doc.  So in addition to the nervousness of first chemo , I am wondering if the port will work as it should.

Its 8:45 AM and K is still washing up after breafast. We are late for the 9:00 AM appt.

‘”If you are going to be late , lets not go!’ I say. I am only half-joking.

As I wait for K to get ready, I look at the sheet the doc gave me with a list of side effects I could expect . I had read it several times before , but still reading it on paper is one thing, actually facing the prospect was completely another.

So we go to the GMC. After a brief meeting , with the doc , they take me to the ‘Infusion Lounge’ . Comfy chairs, blankets, cusions, and rhythmic beeping of the regulators.

The nurses get the bright red coloured Adriamycin and the colourless Cytoxan hooking it up with saline to dilute it , and the drip starts. I watch the fluid comes slowly down through the maze of tubes and into my arm.

I looked at K. He looks terrified,  like he might pass out  any minute. He has been watching the drip come down too. He sees me looking at him and manages a brave smile. He reaches out and holds my left hand.

15 mins later, we are halfway through the infusion. I dont feel any different yet. But I need to pee. So I get up and make my way to loo, dragging the IV with me. My pee is red. This is very expected, but it takes me by surprise nonetheless.

I come back to the lounge. K is looking at me expectantly. I just nod and say ‘red pee’.  In the next 5 mins, I begin to feel the effects. My energy seems to physically seep out of my body. I start feeling tired and drowsy. When JK Rowling , wrote about the Dementors giving the Kiss of Death, she didnt know how accurately she describes the feeling of the chemo effects coming on.

Soon we are done, and I am unhooked from all the drip paraphernelia. The nurses tell me to take care cheerfully, but I dont really register. I get up and walk slowly , K holding my hand.

Back home , I curl up on the sofa.  K props me up with  cushions , a quilt, and some books and my laptop in case I want to read. But reading, thinking, browing , writing emails everything seems like too much work. I just want to sleep.

“I will remember the Fourth of July, year after year, every year, for the rest of my life ,” I promise as I drift off, weakly, but sincerely.

Its today , 4th July 2013.

My prospects that seemed so bleak, sad , unbearable even, have so dramatically changed just a year on.A recent scan found no cancer in me, I feel fit and strong and healthy, my lovely and wonderful and awesome boyfriend K and I are married, K has an awesome job that he loves and despite many challenges our love and laughter has only increased, we are looking forward to a bucket list type trip in August. Until 11 PM today I didnt even think about the  Fourth of July, last year . My fervent promise to myself  didnt last even one year, K had to remind me.

I smile now. I wish I could have known this then, could have known how much happiness, excitement, and love was coming my way. It might have made the day a little easier on me.

But C’est la Vie! Its okay in the end!

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Travel Report : Le Mont Saint Michael

My trip to Mont Saint Michael was just a quick trip over a weekend , when I was in France for work. I had planned to go by myself , but a colleague tagged along.  I have a LOT of trouble thinking about this trip , because as soon as I came back , I found out I had cancer. So if I don’t sound enthusiastic , its not because Le Mont Saint Michael was not absolutely stunning.

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I didnt even open the pictures from this trip until now. Getting from Fontainbleau to Le Mont Saint Michael using only public transport is a great story. Someday if you ask nicely I might tell you.  Just kidding , I am going to tell you right now.

 3 trains, two buses, and a 45 min walk , and most of a day to get there.  Most of this journey was through the beautiful landscapes of Brittany. What they eat in Brittany , will forever remain a mystery , because all they seem to grow are sunflowers 🙂

Very easy on the eyes!

The trains run upto a station called Ponterson, after which it is you take a connecting bus. There is only one bus , with certain fixed timings. Look it up before you get there.

Mont Saint Michael is ridiculously touristy , and over priced. But nonetheless, it is quite gorgeous. When the tide comes in the place is isolated from the mainland, the road connecting it is submerged. Other times , you can walk or drive to it, as you can see from my picture.

The winding steep staircases and alleys in the Mont take you back into time to the medival era. I could just imagine being a grocer’s wife here 🙂