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Spring has come to the desert and the palo verde trees are blooming in all of their yellow glory looking like candles in the desert, along with the grease wood, the brittle bush and the ocotillo with its flaming spires of red flowers. The perennials are repairing, the bougainvillea and other plants that were frozen in the last hard frost in January, sending up new shoots of life, declaring their survival.

As is my body after a long siege of being subjected to harsh chemicals that have lain waste to my cells for the last five months. It has been two weeks now since my last treatment and I can feel some return to normalcy as my cells repair themselves in preparation for the battle ahead, to maintain a cancer free body.

I was diagnosed eight months ago, eight long months of battling these cancer cells that were trying to take over and win. When I started this journey, I couldn’t see the end of it. I didn’t think this time would ever come. But here I am, ready for the next phase, the surgery. I haven’t missed a beat: I have been right on schedule all the way. The doctors were amazed. But then when I started this project, I knew that I had to win. The alternative was not acceptable to me.

So I can feel my body slowly healing. My sinuses have been bleeding for two months now and that has stopped. The tingling in my hands and feet is beginning to diminish and as my nails grow out, they will again be smooth and healthy as they once were. My other bodily functions are back on track, namely my digestive system. And my hair is growing. I have one half inch of fuzz all over my head, less in the front. Not enough so that I can go without my scarves or a wig in public; I actually look like a little old man. But it will continue to grow and I look forward to the day when I can go to my hair dresser and have it styled in an attractive way.

The weight loss is a good thing for me. I weighed 135 pounds when I started this. I thought of myself as Rubenesque and was accepting my curves and flab hanging over my bra. I had large breasts for the first time in my life. My dress size had changed as well, from a size six to ten. But I am now back down to a better weight for my body, 120 pounds and size six. I will have to say that I like myself better at this weight. So you see something good has come from this. Although I don’t recommend this diet.

I have a vision of myself in the aftermath of this event as leaner, stronger and with more purpose in my life. Although I wasn’t lacking in that area before. I think this has been a wake up call to do the things I had put aside, the traveling and the writing. I have stronger ties with my family and friends than I ever had before.  I had always been so independent, not wanting to ask for help and now I see that we all need help at times in our lives. And asking for help strengthens the bonds.


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