Cancer Recovery Continues

From the inside, it seems like “it’s all about me.” I seem to be more inward pointing. How “I” “feel.” What “I” “think.”

The raw update, then the what I thought about it.

I have most of my basic taste sense back, but there is still a deficit of saliva, so I have to add liquid when I eat. The flavor typically goes away before I swallow it. It’s like trying to catch a small animal that keeps getting away.

My short term stamina is about 80%. I can do an hour of light exercise. I take it easy in the martial arts classes. Just piddling around. My long term stamina is less, maybe 60%. I get tired at the end of the day.

I was eating twice as much as in the before times, felt like, though it probably isn’t true, but I wasn’t gaining weight. Then I lost a few pounds. What to do, I asked the doctors. The answer was “eat more food.” Like twice as much. And 3 ounces of protein a day. That’s a lot of protein. I’m, uh, working toward that.

I’ve run about 9 times since January. A one mile course, taking it easy. Feels good after, but then I have like 5 days of not wanting to. Between aikido and tai chi I get 5 one hour sessions per week. Done properly, each can be minimally energy intensive. I can handle it. Plus 20-30 minutes of practice every day. And some yard work.

I’m getting the work done.

Now: what I’ve been thinking/feeling.

It has seemed like days of sameness and slight or only-maybe improvements.

Then a thing happens. Or I notice that a thing is different today than it was yesterday. Then, as the day goes on, it gets more like yesterday again. Kinda like ordinary life, with deficits.

The situation with my dry mouth is paradigmatic. I seem to have come to the conclusion, for now, that every kind of enjoyable thing requires that the joints and meeting surfaces be properly lubricated. If not, then the repeated sensations, from which the fun is built (the “Oh, wow, this is still happening” thing), disappear right after they start (the initial “Oh, wow, this is it” thing). With newly faulty salivary glands, there is only the “this is it” for food, the “it’s still happening” doesn’t happen.

That too is gradually getting better. Embryonically baby steps. Maybe steps. Maybe there’s been a change. Then, a week later maybe, yeah, I guess it’s better. But I don’t have that full speed ahead thing these days, like, ever.

Thinking about it, checking my progress. Nope, still food is mostly chore. I get the tastes, but they go away. I remember when tasting things was delightful. It’s a funny state to be in. It’s like up till now I was adding experiences to my encyclopedia of me. Now I’m subtracting them.

I easily use my situation as an excuse to avoid extended social things. It’s easy because it’s true. I get tired before they, the normals, do. The truth is a great excuse. So any time I do anything it’s seen as heroic or something. “Are you sure? Are you up for it? What if you get tired?” Then I can go: “Yeah, you’re right, if I get tired I’ll leave, or maybe I’ll just fall asleep in my chair in the middle of everyone.” They’ll give me a pass.

The treatment and recovery has included more time spent on yoga-martial art-meditative stuff. There’s been a rapid exposure to lots of new material. I’ve moved far away from the “I should do this every day” thing toward the I can mix and match elements and never repeat myself, boredom be gone. Everything has become either layers of internal and external effort or layers of relaxed abandonment.

In the same session I’ve had various senior people tell me that I was nice and relaxed and too tight and needed to relax more.

A few months before the “change time” someone asked me (one of the newbies) to lead a sequence. I guess something was noticed, someone wanted to find out more about it. So I went and set my posture, from feet on up. I don’t remember the sequence of the added layers, which is what we do in the Tai Chi sessions. Anyway, the posture, including the pesky frontal spinal curves, the breath (we hadn’t gotten to the tongue at roof of mouth thing, much less the drop tongue on exhale touch roof on inhale, and the mulabandha stuff has never been mentioned). But we had done the protective animals. the associated colors, the healing mists, So I added them in. To the guided meditation. At some point the requester complained: too much stuff, can’t keep track of it. (We maintain outer capabilities while doing Tai Chi meditations, and can talk with each other and otherwise deal with stuff that comes up.)

Answer to the complaint, this thought came out of my mouth. You put the animals in their corners and leave them there. They’ll do their thing. You don’t have to constantly watch them with your mind’s eye. They can take care of themselves.

Like building a building. You put in the foundation. Then you build the frame. After you put it up you don’t have to constantly revisit it in your mind, you move on the the next task. I’d already mentioned all that stuff, the animals, whatever. Just let them be there, you don’t have to tell them all the time to sit there and behave.

Last Tai Chi session the teacher was leading us through a standard thing and forgot where it was going. Afterwards laughed about it: “Don’t know where I was going, but I was definitely there.”

Little pieces of stuff like this, like raisins in sawdust. Spring turns to summer. Less is getting done. I’m getting better. I hope that all of you who are looking for a way forward are finding a way forward.