I imagine my body is very busy cleaning at night, or the night hours would not be so awful as chemo works its way through my body. As I crawled into bed, literally, last night, I was overwhelmed with gravity and the weight of my body – a body that seems strangely foreign to me these days. Is my headache from lack of oxygen? I plug into the oxygen, whirring tank beside my bed. (Think hospital like sounds.) Three hours later, my headache deepens. I turn off the oxygen and down an Excedrin. Try not to take Excedrin, I remember the nurse saying four days ago.

The certainty about cancer is that nothing is certain. The chemo I am on is one of the “easier” ones to tolerate because it does not cause nausea. However, it does cause me to feel full all the time, so eating is almost unpleasant, at best. The numbness in my toes has become a constant reality, and I check my fingers whenever I awake from a nap or nighttime sleep. Have they succombed to the same numb condition?

It’s funny. My friends are going to advent events, finishing Christmas shopping, dressing up in costumes for Christmas pagents, making delicious cookies and gingerbread houses, heading to the ski slopes for weekend fun, or enjoying any of a myriad of Christmas-centered events. I’m sitting on the sidelines, too weak to even try any of the above, although I briefly think of how much fun it would be to make the tradtional candycane butter cookies I usually make at Christmas time. I think about how good they taste, because of the butter, melting in my mouth.

Two of my daughters come for a little visit soon. Maybe they will make the cookies, I think. Suddenly, pain and flashing lights flit behind my eyes, and I wonder if the chemo is scouring my eyes for cancer cells. Late into the night, I toss and turn for a comfortable position. Comfortable position. That is something I may have to wait for right now, as I feel a new shooting pain deep into my thigh. I pray for a few friends and their own difficulties – might as well use this time wisely. Then, I ask God for mercy for me. Please take this headache from me. Cancer, chemo and the night.


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