professornana (professornana) wrote,

Passing the Torch, Part the First

I have been trying to write this blog post for some time now. What has gotten in the way? Chemo brain will accept some of the fault. I learned this the first time around with chemo 18 months ago: chemo is a tad indiscriminate when it comes to attacking cells. Yes, it kills cancerous cells. However, it kills other less dangerous cells. Hence all sorts of imbalances occur within the body. Today the potassium is low; tomorrow it might be magnesium. These tests here suggest the kidneys are not functioning well enough to rid the body of the chemo and its side effects. What they really do not tell you is that chemo affects your thinking. And so just as I am beginning to put words together coherently, the docs decide to try another round of all new drugs. On god days, I see them bent over microscopes with beakers and burners and other science-y stuff surrounding them as they cry, "Aha! This is the combo that will eradicate the bad cells." On my bad days, I see the doctors gleefully rubbing their hands together chortling, "Let's see how she handles THIS batch (insert bwahahaha laughs here)." So after this last round, administered in November of 2017, I was basically incoherent much of the time. I think I am making sense more often than not finally (yes, it is now 5 months later give or take). So while I had some ideas for blog posts in the interim, the words were stuck in my head and stubbornly refused to leave when I put them to paper or screen.

Why, then, are there words appearing on the screen? This morning Jo Knowles ( posted to Twitter that she was committing to 600 words and issued an invitation for others to join her. While I will not hit 600 words, I did find the invitation (and not a challenge, thanks, Jo) compelling. Maybe today was the day to get some things down on paper/screen. My colleague Karin Perry ( also talked about writing and the challenge she had issued to herself. Okay, I thought, I am in.

All this is prelude to the actual topic of my blog post: Passing the Torch. And there is a backstory for that as well.

Like so many of you, I spent some time glued to the screen during the winter Olympics. There was a lot of holding the breath during the figure skating, the gasps during the half pipe, etc. Every time NBC did the introductory music and images for its coverage, there was the late Muhammad Ali lighting the torch to open the 1996 Atlanta Games. The image is one that immediately pulls two competing reactions to the surface: an incredible sadness to see the palsied gait and movements of this athlete along with an incredible joy to see that his work is still honored and that he is able to face his condition squarely.

There are still a few connections to be made here for the blog post. Take this simply as the first part. I am not sure how many parts I will need to tell the complete story (because our lives are stories, after all), but I am getting some of the words down here. And as I do so, I am pulling in this:

Polonius: What do you read,my lord?
Hamlet: Words, words, words.
Polonius: What is the matter, my lord?
Hamlet: Between who?
Polonius: Imean,the matter that you read,my lord.
Hamlet: Slanders, sir for the satirical rogue says here that old men have grey beards....
Polonius: Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t. [Aside]

–Hamlet, Act II, Scene ii.

Is there a method to my madness? Tune in later to find out.
Tags: literal, more, words
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