Monday, 27 June 2011

Drop Dead Gorgeous

The touch of flu is now a full-blown infection that is trying to kill me!!!

I feel like I need to be quarantined, given the magnitude of this flu! Needless to say that I have kissed my dream of completing chemo this week goodbye.  I am not even thinking about it much.  I need to survive this flu first!

Isn't the body amazing?  It comes programmed to fight millions of attempts to get it down.  My body is usually pretty good at fighting the good fight, but this time, it is an uphill battle. 

I've tried coaxing my immune system into upgrading its software with all manners of infusions, pills, balms, etc, but it is being slow on the uptake! 

Wouldn't it be just ironic to drop dead from a flu when cancer hasn't killed me???

I don't want to die without hair!  I want to feel gorgeous when I turn stiff! 

Sunday, 26 June 2011

An excellent dancer

"Heart" is an excellent dancer.

Dancers have always fascinated me.  Not those jiggying to cheesy trashy pieces of noise, but those able to perfectly co-ordinate their feet, arms, posture and personality to the rhythm of a melody that elevates the soul.

I am not a good dancer.  I cannot dance to save my life. I wish I could.  I really do.

But I do try to move along with the music of life, although I think I am quite awkward at it.  Sometimes I move too fast. At other times, I falter in the steps, or I stumble. I fall out of sync with the tempo of life. I get tired easily too. I drag my feet, let my arms hang loose. The music inevitably carries on while I sit at the steps looking on, no more dancing, only watching.

But "Heart" dances right on, swirling with grace, lithe on her toes, nimble in her movements, a calm smile playing at the corners of her mouth.  No odd note can throw her off.  She is completely unfazed by life's high pitch or its low tone.  She moves like a swan, always busy, always working, yet poised like royalty, serene in her beauty.

Yes, "Heart" is an excellent dancer.  She dances to every tune of life.  And not only her life.  Sometimes she dances to the music of other people's lives too, including mine.

It is no coincidence that 5 months ago, she was the one who held me while I cried.  No coincidence at all.  No one else, I repeat, no one else, could have been in that place at that moment.  Not my mother, or father, or sister or any other friend or lover.  It had to be her.  Alhamdulillah for that.

Cancer had entered my life then.  But it was not mine only.  In so many ways, my carcinoma had infiltrated her life too.  Cancer may have chosen my left breast as a sleeping place, but it was "Heart"'s heart that it laid its head on.

I could (and probably should) write about those first initial days of cancer.  But not tonight.

Tonight, I want to write about dancing.  Because in those initial days,  "Heart" danced.  She moved swiftly, confidently, beautifully, sometimes with her shadow in tow, researching, learning, enquiring, listening, talking, providing, arranging, managing.  Not a bad back, lack of sleep, three monkeys waiting for her, missed meals, family depending on her, work calling for her stopped her.  Nothing stopped her.  She danced on.  And she is still dancing, effortlessly, tirelessly.

It's been 5 months now.  Thinking about it, I realise that I have really never been alone with my cancer.  My Merciful Lord knows that I could not have walked this path alone.  So He sent me a dance floor full of people to dance with me on this journey.  And dancing centre stage has and still is "Heart".  An excellent dancer.

How can I thank her? How do I even begin to thank her?

My Sweet Lord, please help me.  For I cannot find the means nor the words.  I really cannot.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Lemons

Remember that saying about life throwing you a lemon?

I just realised that I am very fond of lemons (Lemsip catapulted that thought into my brain just now)!!!! I love its tangy quality and its unmistakable flavour.

No wonder my life is such a movie! 

I really enjoy my lemons!

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Lovely

What is this that I smell?  Is it madness? Hope? Strangely, I think it is a bit of both.  But it smells deliciously lovely.

In any case, I don't want to know.  I don't want to understand. 

I am done with reason.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Flush the Flu

Under normal circumstances, I am not overly concerned with a touch of flu.  I usually don't mind the feverishness of it, or the occasional cough or the aches and pains of my body. I can even make a mountain out of a molehill of a touch of flu by being sulky and wanting to be pampered with lots of tea and snacks.

But I have cancer!!!!  I cannot have infections!!!!  As this means that my body would need more time to recuperate and hence my chemo session may be postponed.  And that is something I DO NOT WANT.

The past week or so has seen me sternly admonishing myself that this last round of chemo WILL be done with courage and patience.  I want CHEMO TO BE OVER.

Please, Dear Lord, flush this flu out of me quickly.

PS: Yes, I am in a shouting mood :(

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Inevitable

It was inevitable.
I am in love.
Again.



















Heightened emotions

I measure the greatness of my day by the things I have managed to accomplish at the end of it.  Because every single day I wake up with about 4 or 5 things to do on top of the usual routine (yes, there is always pen and paper in my brain and I write a few lists and doodle plenty!!!). 

I set mysellf simple tasks like cleaning the bathroom, reading The Book, calling XYZ, calling on ABC, taking my solumag, sitting with the parents, contributing my two cents to obligations here and there, etc etc.

Simple enough.  Except that on some days I have no energy and need to postpone a few things. Or else I am so turned off by smells that approaching the bathroom or kitchen or any form of pill/medecine is a battle.  But on other days, I get everything done and even earn a little bonus in the form of adrenaline.

Today, Alhamdulillah, was one of the good days.  And I got my bonus.  It came in the form of a little chat with a gentleman in a dingy clammy restaurant.  A little reminder that moments change and that there really is no need to attach any label to the change.  To simply leave the good and bad tags out. 

I really like this perspective.  It is simple and true. 

This thing with cancer is really funny...because suddenly every little big thing is magnified tenfold, every emotion is heightened, every feeling is accentuated.  Beauty is more beautiful.  Pain is more painful. 

Maybe this is what life is really about.  Living each single moment with absolute intensity, complete ferocity.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Hugging Rumi

Americans hug.  It is one thing about them that I did not quite like when I was in the United States. Simply because I really don't like strangers touching me.  I am VERY particular about this. Shaking hands, kissing on the cheeks and patting the arm or back is fine with me.  But hugging is definitely a no-no.

So today when I got a very American hug from someone from America, I found myself almost in tears.  Boy!  A hug feels real good!!!  Maybe because it came from someone I like and think good about. 

The other highlight of my day was to be gifted Rumi's Mathnawi (the complete 6 volumes!!!).  I usually order books on Amazon and that one has been on my wish list for some time.  To receive as gift something that I myself wanted pleased me beyond words.  Now, if you know me, you would know that I hold anything sufi-related with a mixture of awe, reverence and absolute absolute thirst.  I used to drink up anything philosophical but I have discovered that not all philosophy is right.  So now I limit myself to mysticism mostly.  It quenches my thirst for learning.  The book is voluminous.  I MUST set time aside for Rumi.

Good things happen in bundles people.  Today was proof of that.  A good book, a big hug, and a couple of other stuff that can wait for a mention are more than I could have wished for.

Alhamdulillah.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Chocolate for the ears

There is a time for logic and reason. Then there is a time for beauty and music.

Tonight is for the latter.  Andrea Bocelli.  A voice out of this world. A blind beautiful man.

Bolero was introduced to me in Washington DC.  Chocolate for the ears :).

















Wednesday, 15 June 2011

As it should be

Have you noticed how life is a series of zigzags where eventually everything gets balanced out? How in glorious harmony the opposing forces of life are?

Last night, as we all sat around a table in the kitchen proferring endless counsels to a rather perceptive 7 year old, it was one of those Ah-haa moments when you are on a wave that is riding up.  Today, that same wave came crashing down when a silly conflict spurred tears and general morosity.  Of course it had to happen.  Any energy must be diffused, transformed, converted and re-used.  This fact is writ large in all of creation.

It was evident also today, when I noticed a couple cuddling in a seat on the bus.  A few stops later they got replaced by another couple that clearly having recently had a little tiff, preferred to stare in opposite directions.  Such is the push and pull of life.

The trick, I believe, is to know which wave you are riding. Is it one of those up ones or the down ones?  Sometimes, it may not even be clear whether the wave is pointing up or down or how far up/down you are on it.

But the great tragedy is that most of us, most of the time do not even feel the wave under our feet!  We do not feel the ground moving when we are perfectly still reading our newspapers and sipping a hot coffee!

Where does cancer fit in all this? 

Well, cancer is just a lens.  Just like religion.  Or any dogma.  Depending on how good your eyesight is, it either serves to enhance your vision or confuse your sight some more.  It brings certain things in sharp focus while blurring others.  It decides what you need to see better and what you should not see clearly.

With cancer, things change while they stay the same.  For me, it is mostly the small things that have changed. On many levels I am the same. I am still a twit (a blonde for my French friends).  I still believe in fairy tales or the power of chocolate or the absolute magic of children.

The difference lies elsewhere.  With cancer, I take in whatever wave I am on. I offer no resistance.  I yield to it, willingly, sometimes amusingly. 

The lens of cancer has exposed the undulating waves.  There is no mystery anymore.  Let the moment morph.  It is all in the bigger scheme of things.  As it should be.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

See me

Today I was looking at some pics of myself from last year.  I had hair. Quite long and straight.

I looked more human, less alien.

I want my hair back, my Allah.  Please fast forward time for me.  I want to have the freedom of not wearing a cap constantly.  I want to run my hand through strands of my hair. 

Before cancer, I had eyes but could not see.

Now, I can see.  And I want to see my self. 

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Happy and achy

Quiet happy day full of pancakes, good cheer and Rayyaan.  Alhamdulillah.

Am achy and tired. 

Goodnight.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Small step, huge leap

If you are Mauritian and enjoy poisson sale like I do, you would know that your nose picks up on the smell of it cooking from miles away and your tastebuds rejoice at its taste. 

So tonight when I ate and had absolutely no taste of it, I was a bit thrown.   Nevermind.

NOTHING is going to deflect me from the joy of knowing that my ovaries are still functioning and the fact that my onco today moved to the next step by referring me to the radiotherapist.

In this time warp where I am stuck, a little step forward feels like a huge leap ahead...ahead unto unknown territory, but hey, I'll take any small step that life is giving me.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

24 days

24 days left before 2nd July.

I MUST hang in there.  Because at the end of this phase I WILL CELEBRATE Insha Allah.

I don't know how just yet.  I also don't know why I should be celebrating when I will still have other phases of treatment left.  But the urge to celebrate the end of chemo is VERY strong.  The end of chemo feels like an achievement for which some form of reward is warranted. Maybe someone could give me a medal in July?  For surviving self-imposed torture or something. 

Because chemo is tough people.  It is tough in between the sessions when you feel normal for hours on end only to be blasted with a wave of fatigue or a sudden ache or an anxiety attack at the most unexpected moments.  It is tougher a few days before when you try to brace yourself for the onslaught while deep down you cower like a wounded animal.  It is toughest on the day itself and the few days that follow when your body is taken over by toxic chemicals and all you want to do is leave that body, but really there is nothing you can do about it except wait it out.

Chemo is tough, tougher and toughest all in and by itself. I can't wait for it to be over...

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Slap in the face

Have you ever been ripped off?  If you have, you would know that it is a very unpleasant feeling.

And I can imagine that being ripped off by an acquaintance, a close relative or an ex partner must be that unpleasant feeling multiplied a thousand times.

Because inevitably, when you have known/know someone, you expect a modicum of consideration....it is one of those unwritten rules in life.  You go the extra mile for them, cut them some slack, bend backwards a little and even cross certain barriers into non-kosher territory just to make sure they are well taken care of.

To have yourseld ripped off by someone you know is a slap in the face.  It is a betrayal of friendship or for that matter, any form of relationship.

If your business rips you of your humanity, even in the noblest of professions, you are doomed.  Because the curse echoing in a broken heart is mightier than all the money, power and glory you may possess.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Stop

Things I should STOP doing:

  • Resisting sleep
  • Sit for idle gossip
  • Wearing heels for too long
  • Redecorating a non existent space in my mind
  • Visiting Amazon.com

Monday, 6 June 2011

Pretending

One of the worst experiences in life is pretending not to know when you actually know.  But I agree.  Sometimes, it is best to pretend not to know when you know.

It is absolute torture to know that your partner is a cheater.  It may not necessarily be cheating with another human being.  It can take multiple forms.   Like gambling, booze, facebook, friends or any activity that has reached the level of addiction, so much so that it steals that person away from you.

To sit in their company knowing they long to be somewhere else, to share their bed knowing their brain holds images of someone/something else, to talk to them knowing they have not heard you, to look into their eyes only to see them glazed by a memory you have not shared, that is absolute torture.

Because, inevitably, it kills your soul.  You die a little each time you reach out to them and they move away, out of reach. 

So you pretend.  You pretend not to know that you have competition and that it won.  You pretend that it does not matter. 

Sometimes pretending that you don't know is all you can do to save your sanity.  Forget dignity, righteousness, justice.  You are fighting for your sanity.  And the only way to do it is by pretending.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

We are family

In the past 2 days, I've had 2 people tell me that their families are complicated.

In such circumstances, I tend to point out that all families are somewhat complicated.  Inevitably, the response is that their particular family is undoubtedly one of the most complicated ones.

ALL families are complicated.  That's a fact. 

Now, I have recently turned into a family advocate, complicated or otherwise.  In the past, I used to turn up my nose at anything remotely connected to family, be it gatherings, obligations or interventions.  My motto then was: run as far away from them as you can...and fast.

These days, I am more tolerant of family.  I can even derive pleasure from them.  And I actually love watching the dynamics of families. 

Sometimes, the smiles and laughs flow freely and the conversations are perky and crispy with family.  At other times, people sit next to each other in stony silence, refusing to acknowledge each other. At yet other times, the sparks fly openly, daggers are thrown at each other's heart and soul. It gets nasty and ugly. Civility is conveniently forgotten.

But when all said and done, I think families are somewhat cute.  They bring you enough craziness to keep you sane.  And enough troubles to keep you zen. 

Yes, we are family....a bunch of quirky nutcase folks thrown together in a haphazard way, for better or worse.  It is God's design.  His way to keep us real.  Who would be fool enough to challenge that??? 

Wish me luck with mine and I'll wish you luck with yours. :)

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Sakina

On days like today, I am reminded of how merciful the Creator is.  How He never forsakes.  How He always provides.  How close He always is.

Thank you my Allah.  For sakina.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Letting go...

How do I explain letting go?

Not the letting go of an idea, a dream, a heartache or an obsession. The letting go of the big things in life we all earn to do as we mature. Or if we don't, destiny will whip us so bad where it hurts most that we end up letting go anyway.

But the letting go of your grip on life.  The one we all hold onto with clenched fists even without us knowing it.  The letting go of the small things with the big ones.  The letting go of parts of your personality or habits which, if released, will make you free.  The letting go of assumptions and sometimes perceptions.  The letting go of your own standards.  The letting go of your own person so that you flow with life, as one beautiful fluid stream.

How do I explain this letting go?

How do I make you understand that opening your clenched fist just a little will NOT make you any less than who you are. 

Just believe me.  Let go and you will see. 

You are not important.  Life is.