Saturday, May 17, 2008

Journeys

Yesterday's Friday Five was about travel. And those who know me know that I love to travel. The furtherest away, the most obscure, the most difficult places to visit are my favorites (when I have time, I'll tell you about my adventures in the Rio Coco, on the eastern side of Nicaragua, on the Honduran border during the Contra era).

Sometime in the last day or so, it occurred to me that I am on another journey, a trip of wonderous proportions. It is not simply what I am choosing to do to my body (out of fear, I suppose. I don't have to do this. I am doing it to lessen the risk of a recurrence. I'd rather do this now than face the higher possiblity of more cancer later. And given that this particular kind of cancer is so hard to find, to screen for, I think I'm opting for safety.)

And so, I am losing my hair. What they don't tell you is that your scalp hurts in the process. That's how I first knew I must be about to lose my hair. My scalp burned like the time I managed to get it sunburned in New Zealand. (The hole in the ozone layer is true.)

And so, I never know how I will feel. I keep hoping I will feel good, but it doesn't seem to happen. Yesterday I climbed a flight of stairs and was exhausted. The woman who a year ago was jogging for an hour (and couldn't understand why I wasn't getting faster).

And I meet incredible people. People who have been battling cancer for years and who are grateful to be alive. People who have chemo month after month, year after year. Nurses and lab technicians who do nothing but minister to people with cancer.

But, this is all new to me. It is like entering a new country with strange customs, strange food, strange tastes, strange sights. And it will (God willing) be a short trip. By the middle of July, it will be over and I will be off to South Korea and Mongolia. To a real adventure. Without my hair, of course.