Written On the Body #12, October 24, 2019: After a Break

The sun is starting to shine after a cloudy early-morning, and today I go back on chemotherapy after a four-week break to let my white blood cells (especially the neutrophils) replenish themselves. The doctor says it is normal for the cell-count to drop after 6 rounds of chemo, and he expected it would rise again — which it has done! There is not much I can do to help this inner process, but during the break I rested a lot, ate well (one good thing is that I have never lost my appetite or taste for food), and enjoyed life at home and a good visit with friend from university who came to Toronto to see me over Thanksgiving weekend. I know I have a lot to be thankful for, even now.

I am glad to be back on chemo, as it is proving effective in shrinking the cancer cells and stopping their spread, but I realised this morning, swallowing my pills (after battling once again with the child-proof, almost Houdini-proof lids on the bottles) how nice it was not to be on a strict medical routine. Still, it is better to be doing something about the illness, rather than nothing. I go for an IV treatment today, then continue the pills for two weeks. Then the regular week off before the cycle starts again.

Continued October 28: the chemo went smoothly, and it was not hard to get back into the routine, both at the hospital and at home. I have a couple of particularly bright spots over the next few weeks, which gladdens my heart. Roger’s son Simon, who is in the Canadian Navy, is in Toronto from Oct. 26-30 with his ship HMS. St. John’s, as they are doing a Great Lakes deployment, visiting various cities. We had a fascinating tour of the ship on Sunday (tours were open to the public, but we saw a few extras). I had never seen the inside of a ship before — lots of ladders to climb up and down, and huge engines. Simon is learning to work on the ship’s engines, and enjoys the work and challenges.

Then, on November 2, Roger and I go to British Columbia to visit my son Joe and his partner who recently moved near Nanaimo. (Joe is in the RCMP, and previously was stationed in Cape Dorset — which would have been fascinating to visit, but a lot harder to get to). We’ll start in Vancouver for a few days, to see a couple of old friends and Roger’s daughter and her family, who will come up from Seattle. A busy time — so I will build in rest periods (naps are great) and manage my energy. I am really looking forward to these visits.

That’s it for now — I’ll write again from B.C. Enjoy the end of October, Hallowe’en, and All Souls and All Saints Day.

About Ellen

I am a member of The Writers Union of Canada, the League of Canadian Poets, and CANSCAIP. I have received grants from the Ontario Arts Council for both writing and teaching. I currently work with Learning Through the Arts and Living through the Arts, programmes run by the Royal Conservatory of Music that enable artists to work in schools and community organizations. I have also taught in many other school and community programs, and have been a judge for various writing contests for both young people and adults.
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