The thing about cancer is that if you’re not careful it colors everything else in your life.
For instance, radiation requires that you stay close to home, since you go to the hospital every day of the work week. Consequently your schedule revolves around that appointment. It impacts your standing date at the hair salon, your plans to meet friends for a movie, or whether you can go into Chicago for the day. (You can’t.)
But it’s more insidious than that. I find a rash on my neck, and I wonder, “Is it because of the radiation?” My mouth has been extremely sore these past few days. Was it because I burned it with scalding tea followed by super-hot soup? Or is it some side effect? My knees don’t work as well as they did several months ago? Is it the next body part to require medical attention as I age? Or is the radiation dose too strong?
You suddenly see cancer everywhere. Advertisements for cancer drugs jump out at you from magazines and TV. Articles about the different types of cancer and their therapies are in every newspaper. And you learn of friends who either have had cancer in the past or are going through what you’re going through now.
It’s important to find activities that don’t remind you of the elephant in the room. For me, they include playing piano and reading material that doesn’t contain ads. The nice thing about these two activities is that they can be done whenever the mood strikes. Except, of course, at 3:30 PM, my daily appointment time.