Onto better things

Whew, good morning and good day. Yesterday I couldn’t bear to write a post for this blog – it wasn’t for a lack of ideas, but rather a lack of BRAIN power. That is it say, I was tired.

Ho Crap! Have only just checked the clock. It’s 7.58 am, which means I have woken up abnormally early considering I was so incredibly tired yesterday. But that is what writing does to me : I get these ideas inside my head, and sooner than later they turn into running narratives . . . almost like a dictation .  . . and if I don’t write it all down, the words will keep circling around and prodding me. This may sound crazy (maybe?), however, it is also the truth. But it’s no wonder Zsolt is still in bed. Normally he’s first up and out, so this morning when I rolled away from the covers and he was still totally asleep, I just thought it was because the poor man stayed up till like 2am last night with his thesis.  Nope. It’s just crazy early here.

At least, in the student world it’s crazy early. For normal 9-5ivers to wake up at eight must be equivalent to sleeping in. Anyhow…

Right! Went to London last Wednesday and believe this is a city not to be eaten in small bites. Yes, you get a taste – but really, a visit in the afternoon isn’t enough time to soak up everything the capital offers. It’s easy to understand why people take a 2m x 2m apartment just to stay in the city; with all those shops and pubs and restaurants and BOOK LAUNCHES and shows and incredible neighbourhoods, what’s so wrong with living in a closet? Not a darn thing.

Anyhow, we navigated the subway system and found our way to Holland Park. First things first (and being about 2 hours early), we stopped in at a French Patisserie named Paul. This place was lovely, and all the servers with their white cook hats had French accents. Are they really French? Quite possibly. Anyhow – they had all sorts of gluten-filled goodies, so I abstained and ordered a large mug of tea instead.

One hour later it was onto the pub for dinner with friends (and a twenty meter walk down from the bakery). Funny, I’d arrive for the evening with black stockings on, but my built-in slip did not extend to the actual bottom of the dress. This is inconvenient,  becausewhile walkin the bottom strip of fabric would start to inch-inch-inch-up with every freaking step. Anyhow, I made the executive decision to remove the stockings and just wear my knee high socks – thus flashing a lot of bare legged thigh, and ended up looking like an Asian-fusion stewardess/school girl with my combo of dress and socks, all wrapped up in a polka dot jacket that also cuts at the thigh (thus giving no help to the rising skirt situation) – but then throw on top of everything my incredibly short hair and I really must have come off as eccentric (or as a breast cancer warrior, maybe I should have pinned a ribbon for clarity). But if there’s anything chemo has taught me it’s that even when you feel/look like shit, it always pays to stand up straight. So on Wednesday night when I doubted my outfit (though it was fine, not chemo-bad at all), I at least tried to stand up straight.

Did you know that London, or at least Holland Park Avenue, is chalk full of late twenty and thirty-somethings? This is a mecca for the post-uni, pre-middle age crowd. I loved it.

Anyhow – finally we arrived for the launch of The Cloud Messenger, held at Daunt Books. It’s strange going to someone else’s party; I always wonder, ‘who the heck will I speak to?’ And indeed there were moments of awkward milling (And nerves! I’m just terrible in new situations), but thanks to social lubrication (wine) and a friend graciously making introductions, it was an interesting evening of chatter, new people, listening to Aamer read his lovely passage, and essentially enjoying that bookish buzz. Great stuff.

Fast forward to the train ride home, then a crash into bed. Best part of the evening : snuggling with Zsolt and talking about the party. Followed by sleeping, which is always wonderful.

And speaking of which, Zsolt has just woken up. I’m going to go and jump on him. (this poor man is spiriting to the finish line and banging his head against a wall simultaneously; PhD theses are not for the weak-willed, that’s for sure. But he’s almost there. Almost there! All I can do is make him tea.)

Signing off!

PS- it’s so nice to write about a day that has NOTHING to do with cancer. Okay, talking about cancer now kind of ruins it, but really, I have to say how wonderful it feels. The entirety of Wednesday was dedicated to things other than cancer. Awesome x 20.

Finding the zen

In preparation for this posting I’ve tried to enter a relaxed state. Therefore, I’ve just taken a warm shower with a variety of scrubs including goats milk soap and cucumber body wash (sounds like a nice salad), as well as washing my head fluff with some lemongrass shampoo. Following this, I splashed my face with water and patted it down with almond oil (a drop will do you). And now, while sitting beside my dad’s puzzle and typing on this keyboard, there is a hot cup of ‘oh so good’ tea, mixing chamomile lemongrass and peppermint. It’s DavidsTea, so you know it’ll be quality.

All of this in effort to forget about the other night and recapture what I was feeling the days before. What was that feeling? Pretty freaking zenned out (i.e. good).

Last week kicked off with a facial from my mother’s long-time friend, Jane. Ohhh delicious. I’ve never had a facial before, so it was quite something. Hmmm, one word for a facial: refresh.

Chemo leads to exhaustion, and exhaustion means a lack of attention – I stopped washing my face, stopped wearing make-up, stopped trying to look pretty. Heck, I stopped enjoying showers, which was unfortunate for anyone within 2 meters.  The facial Jane gave was a refreshment, it stripped off the past six months through lotions, soaps and scrubs, and helped me find a new face (and neck and chest).  I’ve since been trying to reinvigorate my skin. And just the other day my good friend said I have more colour than before. Awesome.

Two days following the facial (and an afternoon of rest, for some reason I was knackered after the facial, though Jane did warn it would happen) I had a massage from Brian at my parent’s office. It focused on my lymphatic system, targeting areas that were holding stress. Any guess where my stress was held? Ding! You’ve guessed it: my right breast, arm and back area.  Apart from being relaxing, the massage is designed to get things draining. One word for a lymphatic massage: release.

Funny, in England cancer patients have access to free massage therapy, acupuncture, reiki and aromatherapy – but I never managed to use any of these services (except acupuncture, but not free since I wanted TCM). So, why not? Partly because the treatments took place at the hospital, and party because of nerves – I was too nervous to accept this complimentary help. Chemo drugs are tricky, for me they really affected my anxiety. However, now that I’m having complimentary therapies, it is clear that massage would have been really helpful during treatments. But at least I had the acupuncture.

Finally, last Friday, I cashed in my Christmas present: a trip to le Nordik. Going to the Nordik is somewhat like having chocolate fondue – decadent, hot, and oh so amazing. This is a spa set on the outskirts of Gatineau park. Amoungst the trees, rocks and waterfalls, the Nordik visitor goes through a circuit: sauna, cold pool, steam room, cold pool, rest. And repeat as desired. Mom and I love this place.  By the time we hit our third cycle, sweat was pouring down my face. This lack of hair means that sweat can drip unhindered (drip, run, pour, glisten, gush). One word for visiting the spa: escape.

All these treatments are designed to remove toxins from the body – facial, massage and sauna. Whether you push it out, scrub it out, or sweat it out: key word is out.

And last Saturday I was feeling excellent. Woke up singing, put on makeup, went out with a friend, and had a great time. Yes, later in the evening I had a panic attack – but I don’t blame the detox, not to say it wasn’t involved. A rash on the body is the body’s reaction while trying to remove toxins – but it’s also an indicator that the body’s garbage-removal-service isn’t in good order. But let’s not focus on the down moment. There are better things to talk about.

Anyhow, this week I’m back with my brother and the acupressure. Therefore, I’m back to feeling good about feeling good.

It was a lovely week, which might explain why I didn’t write (too stuck into the good vibes). Since this ordeal can be so overwhelming, it’s got to be broken down – helping my body heal is a great first step.

Hmm, now it’s time to stop typing. Computers are wonderful, but they’re totally not zen.  Right now, I choose to relax. That’s another awesome treatment and totally effortless (which is the point).