Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Kiddy Lit in Cancerland

This entry first appeared in "The Leap Years: Women Reflect on Change, Loss, and Love," edited by Mary Anne Maier and Joan Shaddox Isom (Boston: Beacon Pr, 1999.)

July 3, 1994. At Midwestern Regional Medical Center, during chemotherapy.

I'm doing some Children's Literature visualizations (a way to use the mind's power to focus on the body curing itself.): I could imagine Russia's Vasilisa the Wise pouring the Water of Life through my veins, by way of the chemotherapy sacks; or Alice in Wonderland by my bedside, feeding me anti-cancer cakes; or Baba Yaga, the witch from Russian folklore, eating the cancer cells like tree trunks. I'll try out the cannibal witch. The first two are far too peaceful. Wrath makes more sense to me.

Later. I am angry at the nurse who said she can't disconnect me from my IV to shower. "Why not?" I ask. "You're on twenty-four-hour chemo," she states then just leaves. Through thirteen months chemo, nurses have always let me take a daily shower. I can't even change my shirt without a nurse unhooking from the IV. I'm caged. And I smell because my body is sweating strange chemicals. After breakfast, I will buzz her and make her help me. Be rude back.


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