Tuesday, April 26, 2011

End of My Isolation in Photos

Look Ma, no taste

On Sunday, the last day of my isolation, I sprang from bed and started my hormones again. (Hello Cytomel and Eltroxin.) I felt a little more alert (just a little). I ate salty chips and salty vegan sausage. I was able to not just watch the second half of a movie, but I watched another one. A whole movie! The first movie I finished was Julie and Julia about a writer, Julie Powell, who "finds herself" while cooking from the cookboook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking by renowned chef Julia Child. (Julie blogs about her experience which is eventually made into book and then a movie. Hmmmm....) While watching this movie, I had a craving for flavourful food. I still had no appetite (it's gone, lost, not sure where). I feel full all of the time. Plus, vegetables seemed to repulse me. (This from a fully fledged new vegan is devestation.) My solution? Thai food.

I ordered Spring Rolls delivery. A stirfry of tofu and eggplant with rice and you guessed it folks? Springrolls with dipping sauce. I had the delivery guy bring the food to the backdoor and I signed the form at a distance. I told him I had to stay back since I was in treatment for cancer. (It's not catchy. Don't worry, I insisted.) Only thing is the springrolls weren't as crispy but I still ate them. Then I went for the entree. I had it before and knew it was tasty except it tasted bland. I put hot pepper sauce and soya sauce on the rice desperately trying to add flavour. My taste buds were deceiving me and when I tasted the carrots, I started to cry. I couldn't taste that familiar sweet-sour taste that is typical of Thai food. I was saddened by this. I love food and I love to cook. And here I was, I neither felt like eating it and I couldn't taste and I was watching this movie while these women were making beautiful food. I feared that my taste would never come back. (I know this is a side effect of the radiation but it freaked me out!)

The other movie I watched was Temple Grandin about the autistic animal rights activist. I have worked with autistic children and I find them to be unique and fascinating. Temple has an extraordinary gift-- to think in pictures-- and had the nurturing and guidance from her mentors and guardians to use it to help animals. She was the first person to help explain what it is like to be autistic. (From what I gathered, I think she has Asperger's Syndrome which is on the autism spectrum.) So inspiring. I managed not to tear up again.

I'm Coming Out, I Want the World to Know
Monday, today, was exciting. I felt a little more energy then the day before but still needed to lay down and rest at times. I cleaned my bathroom. And when I say clean. I mean deep clean. Rinse. Disinfect. Mop. Scour. I would have made Mr. Clean proud. It took me probably about 2 hours to fully sanitize and "de-radioactivize" this space. I was so proud of it. I needed to get a photo.

Look at the shine!


I had a neat facebook live chat with a professor I know and her experience of recovering from a partial thryoidectomy. It essentially changed her life and through her healing process shaped who she is. Like me, she engaged in a lot of inner work. She was eighteen when she began this journey. There was so much that we shared that we decided to continue this conversation at a later time.

Anyway, I had my first visitor post-isolation. Suzanna was in town from Kitchener-Waterloo. (Shout out to my KW peeps. Woot! Woot!)

My brave first post-isolation guest

I didn't get in the photo with her since my camera was still a little radioactive. Also I'm a little camera shy. (I look a hot mess. My already chubby cheeks have gone from chipmunk to bulldog overnight.) Suzanna and I shared our adventures over ginger tea-- she of her pan-Asian expedition and my medical system safari. She gave me a get well card with a fairy godmother wearing combat boots. Everyone needs a fairy godmother wearing combat boots.

My fiance Adam came home too. (Talk about awkward hug.) There are all these rules about physical distance which we were trying to decipher from the hospital summary sheet. Forget consulting websites and the internet. The information is all contradictory. For example, this is what the hospital suggested:

For 3 days (72 hours) after you take the I-131 therapy pills, you may spend:
MAXIMUM 45 minutes/day at 1 m (3.5 feet) from other people
MAXIMUM 2 hours/day at 2m (7 feet) from other people
MAXIMUM 7 hours/day at 3 m (10 feet) from other people

Adam did some research on the internet. The websites each say something different but one thing is for sure. No exchange of bodily fluids. Plus, no pregnant women and no children. Not necessarily in that order.

Adam and I left the house to run a few errands. When I stepped outside, there were droplets of rain falling lightly. I smiled and revelled in the freshness. *&!$ the umbrella. It felt that good. I needed this. It felt good to be outside and to feel alive. I need to fax something. He had to buy toothpaste. I needed to get vegan food that might "turn on" my appetite. We ate at Chipotle's. I had a huge veggie burrito knowing that it would probably be the only meal I could manage for the day. (I did start the day with a smoothie and tea. I also ate fruit.) I beelined from every child under 12 and potentially pregnant woman around me.

Hair Issues
I called back my hairstylist for the last five years. (The salon he worked at closed down and I began to go to a closer salon.) My hairstylist is more than a stylist and such a soulful, creative person. I told him about my cancer. (He knew months before I had been in hospital but at the time I was not ready to reveal why.) He listened and encouraged me. "How's your hair?" he asked. I think it's thinning. There. I said it. It's true. My beautiful, glorious bush of hair. (My mom always said that God blessed me with one good head of hair.) My roots have grown in but some of my dredlocks were hanging by spindly strands looking like they were ready to snap at the root. "I trust you will do a good job. Whatever you say, I'll do it." I put my hair completely into the hands of my stylist. I will see him soon.

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