This morning I had a plate of grits with two pretty yellow sunny-side-up eggs on top. Typically that wouldn’t be a big deal, but after a week of hardly any food’s appealing to me, this feels like some kind of triumph. It’s got me thinking about what “normal” is. Maybe there is no such thing. It used to be normal for me to get up in the morning and not be tired or have my stomach feel bad. Now normal is taking each day with what it brings and trying to listen to what my body is telling me and appreciating all of the love and support people are giving me.
I had blood work yesterday and found out that my blood counts (or is it singular – “count”?) are low, so now I add an antibiotic to my medicines. And because I’m allergic to sulfa and more recently, penicillin, prescribing an antibiotic is more challenging for doctors. I don’t know if that’s why I got a prescription for an expensive one or because it works better with someone who is going through chemotherapy. Actually, there’s a lot I don’t know now. I’m a beginner in having cancer and what its treatments involve, though in time I may move to the intermediate level. I don’t want to be an expert, though!
It’s interesting to me how my sense of taste has changed. Very few foods appeal to me, and certainly not spicy ones – and they used to be my mainstay. My taste buds are more sensitive, and I can more distinguish specific tastes than I could a month ago. Those chemotherapy drugs are altering me in all kinds of ways. Of course, I have more tiredness, but the change in appetite is the biggest difference so far. I’m avoiding dairy because I’ve read that it can be linked to cancer, and that makes sense to me because of all of the hormones in dairy cows – plus dairy just does not appeal to me now. Meats don’t appeal to me either, though I know I need to eat some for the protein. Bland things appeal to me now. And soups, but not spicy ones. Plain old vegetable or chicken-based ones mainly. Comfort foods. And not greasy ones.
I also found out that I really do need to avoid going out much and to stay away from places where there are lots of people because I got a stomach virus Tuesday and was running a low-grade fever and feeling generally rotten for just over 24 hours. After that, I was not surprised that my blood counts were low yesterday.
I’ve been getting great support from friends and even had to turn down a visit yesterday because I was pooped. I appreciate phone calls, but sometimes I’m tired and don’t want to have to talk. That’s one reason I really like email. I’ve always felt it was less, hmmm . . . intrusive. I can read emails when I like and answer when I like, even if it’s in the middle of the night. And lately, sometimes conversations just wear me out. It’s as if it’s too hard for me to formulate thoughts and have to express them verbally. Typing them is somehow much easier. So Facebook works well, too.
I’ll end by going back to normal. The topic, not the feeling. Although in past crises like the death of my parents, I longed for “normal,” now I’m realizing that there really is no normal, and I don’t have a longing for it. Life happens a moment at a time. Sometimes those moments are painful and almost unbearable and sometimes they’re magical. But what is important is that each moment just is. And I am, moment by moment. And bright yellow sunny-side-up eggs can be beautiful.