Monthly Archives: September 2016

I forgot how to be well

I look fine but I don't feel fine, a 2016 memoir.

I look fine but I don’t feel fine, a 2016 memoir.

Blue Moon was the last beer I drank, at my favorite campus bar. I left the orange perched on the rim of the glass; I needed beer unbothered. It’s unpretentious, tame beer; I needed that, too. As if a mundane beer choice could somehow balance the blow of it being my last.

Last week I awaited a different kind of last, one infused with cautious optimism and cruel pragmatism. Monday was my final hematology followup, a return to the land of bad blood and beige chairs. “Sooooo, we’re going to have to draw some blood today,” the nurse said as I walked back to a room furnished with a blue chair in each corner. As if they worshiped the wall-mounted display of needles, gauze and tiny tubes. As if I didn’t know what was coming.

I sent my infusion room nurses a thank-you card in May, gratitude and pain weaved together in awkward prose. I wonder if it nests among the cards taped to the cupboards. I wonder what’s inside the cupboard beyond the cards; syringes and Band-Aids and maybe the tacky, tan wraps that leave my arm indented for a few minutes after I unwind the bandages.

No more weekly infusion room visits, hematology appointments or hazy wandering the hospital hoping for casual eye contact with a hot medical resident. I forgot how to be well. Continue reading

Black tea and the dull warmth of a dark year

The derpiest cactus in the world guards my books.

The derpiest cactus in the world guards my books.

I hold my tea mug to my chest; heat radiates from the ceramic, warming my body. I set aside the book I am reading. I take a sip of tea. I set aside the mug. I take up the book. It is comforting to focus my thoughts and attention on a single thing. The quiet in my mind is alarming, almost, the quiet of things finished.

It was anticlimactic submitting my law school applications; I clicked and checked boxes and double-checked my information. Bizarre, it is, checking and double-checking your own story, as if some biographical tidbit could emerge in the questionnaire. My story feels disjointed this year. As I moved forward on the LSAT and law school plans, I backslid into poor health and chronic fatigue, the kind measured in sick days and tea refills. Continue reading

Comfort zones & tie-dyed colors: Why I’m leaving DSM

I will go wherever there's a tennis court (and a law school).

I will go wherever there’s a tennis court (and a law school).

Anxiety and excitement swirl into a single, murky color, like a tie-dyed T-shirt gone wrong. I am anxious for my hematology followup tomorrow, excited to go to law school, anxious awaiting application decisions, excited to (potentially) be done with doctor’s visits. I let the colors and emotions bleed together.

Balance exists in rare clarity these days, a year teetering between prolonged lows and punctuating highs. Months of agonizing, tedious illness, fueled by uncertainty and specialists. I took the LSAT. Six weeks of iron IVs, hospital bracelets and dizzy walks from the infusion room. I applied to law school.

Departure and dichotomy are real when they exist on the page, when they cease to rattle solely in my mind, only to fade away when it’s all too much. I often write to remind myself of what’s real. I’m going to law school. I’m moving away.

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