Well, week one of my medical leave is over. I had imagined that I would do light workouts every day, play my accordion every day, write, read, prepare my story for the Seattle Storytellers Mabinogion weekend in May (that’s why I was writing down Welsh words), go to a meeting daily, iron shirts, take the dog out, cook more and get rid of a bunch of stuff, too (books, papers, photographs, my beautiful desk, knick-knacks I don’t want anymore (there are none)). But did I do any of that?
No. No I did not. I’ve worked out a couple of times, and have gone out with the dog every day, but played accordion only once, ironed a shirt, cooked one meal…This whole chemo thing is a lot more work in and of itself than I had imagined. You know, when I’m between rounds, I kinda forget the fatigue and the pukey and the way my skin feels inside out and prickly all the time. I forget that sleep is nearly impossible at night, but I’m always too tired to read or write. I forget that my fingers are all fumbly on my accordion and it takes me forever to forge a recognizable tune. I forget that picking up a barbell seems impossible (until I did it again today, and then I was just a lot weaker than I want to be — but still, I completed a whole workout, so that’s something). But I also forget how satisfying it is to do any of that stuff, even at half-speed or less.
So this week, I presented to city hall and that was good. Didn’t make one iota of difference to their vote, they still decided against funding Vancouver’s only women-only rape-crisis centre and transition house. But the city council and the staff saw a strong showing of solidarity and support for Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter. I don’t think they heard a word — most of them looked pretty checked-out during all the presentations–and they’d made up their minds. Or the city staff had made up their minds for the council. Looks like that’s how it’s done. Anyway, it looks like there is a women’s liberation movement in Vancouver — and that there are a good number of male allies, labour-movement and left allies, and regular people allies. We left half way through the day and walked home. We knew what the weak-hearted and social-climbing liberals on council would do, but we were encouraged to be together with so many who would stand together to protect women-only space, and women’s rights to speak in public — to take up space in public.
March 15: it seems now that the meaning of public space, and the right to take up public space–or to protect it — has to shift for a while. There are empty shelves in all our grocery stores. I went to costco a few days ago, but walked right out after seeing the line-ups (we have toilet paper), and we’re running low on ground flax seeds, so we won’t need as much tp in a while. heh.
I finally backed out of the powerlifting competition I’d entered, too. I wrote to the nurse practitioner who is, seems to me, the hub of all the neuro-oncology stuff going on at the BCCA. I figured if I wrote on a Saturday, she’d get back to me sometime on Monday. She replied within an hour, I think! And her reply was, basically, “ABSOLUTELY NOT”. She worded it much more nicely, though. told me that she wasn’t going to the gym, either, and had cancelled an important family gathering, and they were really running as fast as they could to keep up with all the changes. It was clear that my participation in this meet had less to do with my ability and more to do with my responsibility. I’m a bit more vulnerable, and if I can take precautions to avoid getting sick, that means more resources available for other people. And for me, down the road when I may need it and the pandemic is died down. No sense exposing myself to a bunch of germy powerlifters and referees and audience members and getting sick at the same time as everyone else. Where’s the fun in that?
I was disappointed and relieved at the same time. There’s the fall classic coming, and by then I’ll be done chemo, and the covid pandemic will be over, or at least managed. And I’ll for sure (hopefully…) be able to lift enough to qualify for the provincials.
I’m not done this post, but I never am done, am I? and I started a long time ago, I’m just gonna publish it and start another one. With more time on my hands, I’m now remembering some bits of stories and thoughts and questions I want to explore here. More later, Beautiful People