Monday, January 17, 2011

My Other Me Raises Its Ugly Face Again

Well it happened again. I had a pretty rough week this past week. I won't go into too much detail because I really don't think most of you want to hear the about the inner workings of my gastro-intestinal system. Let's just leave it at that I felt like crap for pretty much the whole week and that lying on any horizontal surface was my favored position and way of passing the time.

I didn't have any chemo, but it kind of felt like that week after a round. And like those weeks following chemo, I didn't have much going on upstairs. I couldn't eat, read, work, interact with my family. I was just basically living. Television was my only source of comfort this past week and it seems being able to stare at it mindlessly was the extent of my contribution to family and society.

But, again just like so many times before, it amazes me what happens when I snap out of these dark periods. As my wife just stated this morning, "he's alive!" (making a reference to the Frankenstein character). That is how stark the contrast is between the two me's. One is basically a lump of biological goo lying on a horizontal surface completely dependent upon those around me, and the other is a functioning, independent thinking and living organism.

So how do the two me's come about?

It isn't the physical ability to, for example, clean the kitchen that is missing during these these dark spells. Sure, even when I feel physically very ill, I am capable of doing certain fundamental physical tasks. They may not be easy and it may take a little longer to complete them but I can get them done. What surprises me the most when I go through one of these valleys is the part of myself that I lose. The desire, the spirit, the will, the drive, the want to, the reason for caring. This part of me just seems to take a vacation.

Then one day the clouds part and just like that it reappears again. Suddenly I care about things again. It amazes me the unmitigated contrast between the two me's. Then again, having gone through this multiple times before, it amazes me that it continues to amaze me that this happens to me. You would think that by now I would be an old veteran of this circus and would be able to understand what is happening to me as I am going through it. Or maybe that is how real and how deeply it affects me. That even in the middle of something that I have gone through before, I have to experience it as if it were the first time. That even though I have seen the movie before I don't know how it ends.

What scares me about this alternate me is that in light of what I am going through, this lack of desire can also materialize into a lack of caring about my outcome and future and that can have disastrous consequences. I cannot afford to give up the will to live. In spite of everything that is going on with me physically, I have to maintain the mental fortitude to fight this fight.

So I will celebrate the sun rising in my world and do my best to equip myself for that next low. Because I now know that it will come, but I must remind myself that it will also pass.

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