I’m surrounded by newness these days: new experiences, new challenges, new physical sensations, new awareness.
There is not-so-great newness in the side effects of the chemo I’m receiving. I have an aversion to cold, for instance. For at least a week after chemo, I can’t touch anything cold without receiving what feels like an electric shock. I can’t swallow anything cold or my throat seizes shut. My fine motor skills, especially in my right hand, are affected in a way that makes certain tasks difficult. My fingers refuse to work, freezing in a very odd looking way and stubbornly resisting whatever action I’d like them to take.
I suppose that sort of thing is a bit inconvenient, but it’s fascinating as well. Who knew the body could react like that? Who knew the body would accept the constructive part of a particular treatment and then exhibit some completely random side effect just to let you know it’s not a natural thing you’re doing.
I’m also learning-or more accurately confirming-basic truths about people. People are good. They care, and nearly every person seeks to live a life beyond themselves. They struggle to let you know how much they care, and in that exquisite awkwardness you see who they really are. I’m moved to tears nearly every day by some expression of kindness or thoughtfulness.
I’ve always been a learner, but the last few weeks have been filled with so much that’s new. Except for one tiny detail-you know, that pesky cancer thing-it’s been my favorite period of learning ever.