To say our life - our old life I mean - has been put on hold, is a gross understatement. In the past Nigel's treatments had been hard, but only took him down for short periods of time. Within a couple of weeks, he was up and back at it. He always wrote his portion of the newsletter, was able to at least drive around the farm, and work from home. The treatments this time around have been harsh and made that kind of work impossible. Every week, we think if he gets a few more days of rest then he will be strong enough to go for a drive around the farm, see what's going on out there, maybe meet with the crew.
As he begins to feel better he does get more active and he does do more. One of the sweetest things was the very simple act of getting up and making me tea. I married an English man so tea in bed is one of the perks - it had been a very long time. He has come out to spend the better part of a day visiting with friends, he sat at the kitchen table to speak with the students from the Farm Academy, and a couple of times he has gone for that drive around the farm. Last week when Jan and Liz were here, they got him a comfortable seat in the front of our house, so he could direct the pruning of our large banana trees and get the new ones out of their pots and into the ground. It all looks amazing, but the best part was seeing how happy he was sitting outside in his newly planted mini banana grove.
But there is always a price to pay. The days that follow he suffers from complete and total exhaustion, the vomiting can start up again too. How do you get better if you don't push yourself? Isn't that what we always tell ourselves? And so we push, just a little. What I have come to realize is when you live with cancer you have to recalibrate your life's intensity control switch down to the micro level. Any bit of effort we would take for granted, not even realize we were making, in a healthy state is suddenly blown up a hundred times. You're thinking this little something is a level 1 but really it is 1 x 100. That has impact.
We have all read and heard news stories telling us that stress causes the most damage. Headlines love to be sensational, but it has got me thinking. What if living in this extremely fragile state of health, reacting so intensely to any effort exerted, is simply a tangible amplification of stress? That control that no longer moves by the ones, has now jumped to 100's, reacting to all of life's little stresses and pushes you over the edge. Today I realize that my lesson is to learn how to live life gently.