This last round of chemo has been a rough one. Every single side effect I’ve had to wrestle with over the course of my treatment–nausea, deep muscle and bone aches and pain, fever spikes, peripheral neuropathy, fatigue, anemia, hand-foot syndrome–has flared up, as though to usher in one last reunion tour. I keep telling myself I just have to endure a few more days and I’ll be on the upswing but when I’m feverish, queasy, and hurting everywhere, it’s hard to think beyond the “now,” and the now sucks.
To take my mind off how sick I’m feeling, Matthew and I are having a Studio Ghibli marathon. Yesterday we watched Tales from Earthsea, The Cat Returns, and My Neighbor Totoro, all movies I somehow hadn’t managed to see before. Earthsea started out really promisingly but fell apart storywise about halfway through, but the other two were absolutely charming. We’ll continue the marathon with Ponyo today.
Received today, my contrib. copies of the March/April 2014 issue of Cicada with my short story “Beautiful Winter” in it with beautiful illustrations by Forest Strawn-Wing.
I’m thrilled to be appearing once again in Cicada, as this magazine holds a special place in my heart–being my very first fiction sale and publication with “The Adventures of Manny the Mailmobile” in their Jan/Feb. 2002 issue.
This is normally when I look back on the spent year and reflect upon what I’ve accomplished and what I haven’t and then go on to set some goals for the new year. My focus has typically been on my writing, as that’s been the main goal-related emphasis of my energies, attention, and ambition for over a decade, arguably for most of my lifetime. But this year, my priorities are different. 2014 will be all about kicking cancer’s ass, taking back what it has stolen from me, and most of all, simply surviving it.
I’m finding, halfway through my chemo schedule, that I’m going through cycles of bleakness heading into each new round. The pain and exhaustion and sickness that accompanies the start of each cycle, the increasing mental fogginess–it’s becoming terribly easy to fixate on what I’m going through, which in turn makes me more inclined to wallow in the dourer possibilities and spiral into negativity and depression. And I realized I need to zoom out a bit. These upcoming months are not going to be ones to savor, not ones to stop and sniff flowers during; they’re something that must be endured and then put behind me.
So this year, my resolution is to keep looking forward, head up and eyes planted firmly on the horizon, and to maintain the certainty that I will get to that distant place up ahead. All this necessary unpleasantness will do upon me as it must as I forge along, with each step bringing me closer to a time when this will become something I went through–in the past and done with, albeit not forgotten.
Goodbye and good riddance, 2013. Bring it, 2014.