May 15, 2001: Round two
Hi friends. Baldy here, this time from the sunny wards of Paoli Memorial Hospital. Yep, it's time for round 2 of chemo, and yep, I shaved my head. Last tuesday night, after 24 hours of watching my hair come out in clumps in my hand, i decided it was better to just shave then be tortured by the slow loss. So, I'm somewhere between Uncle Festus and Billy Corgan, but managing to live with it. Sheri says I look fine, but I think it's wrapped up in the "worse" side of "better or worse" that she signed up for 6 years ago last Sunday. Anyway, I have no hair, but I'm thinking of ways to make the best of it. I'm going to paint "this space for rent" on the back of my head, and perhaps, if anyone is interested, get a corporate logo/sponsorship for the wasted space. Maybe one of you would like to lease it out to promote the latest "boy band" you've invented? Or a cute little folk-singer could use it? Or a cola beverage?
Last week was the hardest of the weeks since I was first diagnosed--in large measure I think because it was one that forced me to look my weakness in the eye. The hair thing is so wrapped up in identity issues (and projections of identity) that its loss is a kind of death--or at least a kind of loss that is traumatic to my ego. The guy who's looking at me in the mirror this week is not different looking, but a different guy altogether. The difference, I'm afraid, is that the old, hairy Dwight had a kind of immortality about him; the Dwight in the mirror now is very, very finite. Whether or not this is a ultimately bad thing is up to the psychoanalysts among you--but it was hard to take initially, and left me pretty ragged and raw emotionally over the past few days. Even our anniversary dinner was not immune--I sniffled back a few tears this weekend that appeared to come from no where.
But, alas, all was not doom and gloom by far. We had a grand weekend, celebrating both at a fine steak house on Saturday night and a lovely grilled striped bass at home on Sunday and enjoyed each other's company immensly--to the point of even not watching the NHL playoffs at all on Saturday or Sunday.
I've also been encouraged by your responses to my challenges to you to both pray for the voiceless/powerless and to find ways to "mock the devil" even as we face this challenge. If I feel well tomorrow--i.e.: if the chemo I'm just beginning doesn't make me nauseous right away--I may put together a kind of sampler of some of your responses. they've been immensely inspiring to me, and exciting as well. It's like we're on to something here--like this foolishness has given us a kind of insight into the Kingdom of God (what the world ought to look like) despite its evil self. "You meant it for evil"... says Joseph to his brothers....
Chalk up another one for those who would laugh at the devil...
Anyway, your calls, emails, cards and letters have been very encouraging as well. Thanks. Please continue to pray for me, and specifically, please pray that my stomach stays settled during chemo, and that my back does not get 'thrown out' again if I do get nauseated.
And of course, please pray for the voiceless--the least, the last and the lost--each time you remember me.
I love you all. THANKS....
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