Thursday, June 14, 2007

Cruising for a bruising

Just come out of a long bath and have been inspecting my bruises.

Yesterday evening I decided to fight the fatigue with endorphins by going for a bike ride with R. We found our way down past the River Wandle, up through the hills of Wimbledon, cruncing and skidding through the gravel paths of Wimbledon common, all the way to Richmond park where we sat and watched a herd of deer to our left and some extreme kite flyers to our right.

Then we got up to go home again and within minutes I disovered I had a puncture in my rear wheel. So I pushed my bike all the long miles home. And in doing so I clipped my calves a few times on the pedals.

This morning, my legs have blue bruises all over them. Knocks and bumps that normally would barely show are coming up on me within hours. I know what's causing it - it's the low blood cell count kicking in.

But it's still weird to see your body react (or over-react) on some sort of fast forward setting. Like some sort of time lapse photography, I can almost see the bruises blooming on my skin.

Despite everything else, the major hold chemo has on me is the sheer fascination I am finding with how my body reacts to these killer drugs. My hair falls out, my stomach churns, my shins bruise, once every three weeks I feel like a walking zombie for a few days.

But the most fascinating thing remains that regardless of how much damage the drugs are wreaking on my various systems, I feel relatively normal, most of the time. Yes, that is the wonder of my body. I may be balding and burping and not sleeping, but boy, the rest of me is still functioning and that feels like a triumph in itself.

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