This is the part I’ve really been dreading.
It’s not the hair loss, nor the bleeding gums, nor the aches and pains, nor even the inflamed vein in my left arm (superficial phlebitis thanks to a cannula I had for IV antibiotics two weeks ago), but chemo fatigue. The weariness is as heavy and intense as when I was pregnant with my son. I wasn’t tired all the time back then––in fact, when I wasn’t tired, I had a lot of energy. I got the best sleep of my life when I was pregnant, even in the last trimester. I felt healthy and happy most of the time. But I had regular episodes of fatigue throughout the day and they were overwhelming. I was still working at Hallmark then and occasionally I was so weary, I’d go to the nurse’s office and lie down. (This was in the 1980s, when Hallmark Cards was the best employer in the midwest, and had been since J.C. Hall founded it. I don’t know what it’s like now. But I digress.)
Where was I? Oh, yeah: tired. So very, very tired. Gentleman Jynx, my feline supervisor, climbed aboard his lap pillow expecting me to get to work on the novel as always so he could fall asleep listening to music and key clicks. There’s music but not much in the way of key clicks. He gave me a dirty look and decided to have a mid-morning snack, to give me a chance to shape up; now he’s back with the expectation that I have shaken off whatever minor problem was afflicting me and will now get to work on finishing this novel I’ve been working on for two years.
(Actually, it’s more like half that, as I put it aside for a year to fulfil short fiction obligations. But the Gent, as we call him for his impeccable manners––never scratches the furniture(!)––does not give time off for good behaviour or promises to keep. As far as he’s concerned, a year is a year is a year, regardless of how you spend it.)
This novel is fun. Hard; I have to keep consulting experts about the way things work in outer space but still loads of fun. Not my usual kind of thing, which is why it’s so much fun. I’ve been a professional writer for thirty-five years, I’m in my sixties, and I’ve stepped ‘way out of my comfort zone. It’s not just fun, it’s exciting, and the farther out of my comfort zone I go, the more fun and exciting it is.
Hear that, chemo? Fun and exciting! This is no time to nod off!