Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Reluctantly Attained Insight

I wrote this on Tuesday, July 8th.

This is the first day that I have felt was manageable since Thursday. Chemo hit me hard and still reaches out to sock me every once in a while. It was way worse than I had anticipated. I spent most of the time bed-ridden and in pain from my body's reaction to the treatment.

I realized a few things.

Prolonged physical suffering can reduce the average person to despair. I have had pain in my life. I have had several surgeries before, other times of not feeling well, but none of it can compare to how I felt this past week.

There is a certain level of constant nagging pain that blocks out thoughts of anything else. You can't watch TV. You can't read a book. You can't play a game. You can't even carry on a conversation. All that rings through your head is the sound of your own discomfort, and the ticking of the clock as time slowly records your suffering.

I had never experienced that before.

It made me realize how out of touch I was with what real "suffering" was like. The visceral, raw potential for your body to make you miserable is unlimited. I laid in bed wondering how people with advanced cancer do this for years. I wanted to quit after this first treatment, and I'm not just saying that. It took all my strength to keep from calling my oncologist and swearing that I would never consent to this legal torture again.

I felt that badly.

I'm sure I will have more compassion for people dealing with chronic pain/illness in the future.

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