Changing your view
The call came out for tips and tricks, so here are two tips that helped me get through chemo and after:
When I was in chemo I mostly spent time in one or two neighborhood cafes--writing my blog, reading, working. A nice way to get a cheap vacation, though, is to go to a different part of town and hang out, either in a coffee house you haven't been to, or, if the weather's nice and you feel like it, on the streets and sidewalks.
I think people like going to new cafes and restaurants partly just to feast their eyes. Oh, of course, there's our obsessive focus on the minutiae of food and on finding the top 10 [fill in the blank]s, a trend that was spawned, supposedly by the start and rise of city magazines, and that helps us forget the polis, and the great world around us, but there is something in us that loves a new place. If we had all reached enlightenment maybe we wouldn't need this stimulation; home or our monk's cell would be enough, but until then, it's nice to get out every once in a while. A change of scenery can liven you up. It does something to the brain. Don't ask me what. Today we went to the National Museum of Mexican Art to see two exhibits. One was small and unfortunately partly amateurish, about the kidnapping, torture and murder of more than 500 women in Ciudad Jaurez. Both of us liked this piece, Broken Dreams by Rocío Caballero, very much:
The other exhibit was so so well-done and interesting, on Mexican and American muralists, and how they influenced each other. There were even three pieces by Jackson Pollock, including the painting above. Afterwards L and I walked around and went to a restaurant where we split a burrito. It felt like we were in a different country, or at least in the Mission in San Francisco. It's still hard for me to explain to people why I can write more when I go to Ragdale or another artist colony. Part is the expectation. Part is the change of scenery. The brain knows it's elsewhere.
I love this museum because it's very small and good and has a great gift shop. In the fall it's got altars for Dia de los Muertos, and you can watch people make sugar skulls.
TWO. If you're a woman in Chicago who's been treated for cancer in the last year, you can get five free massages and five free spa visits at Thousand Waves Spa. If you're in chemo you won't want to use the hot tub because you're more susceptible to germs and infections, but you can use the sauna and steamroom and sit in the relaxation room and read magazines and drink tea. It's all very lovely and quiet. And free. Though if you can afford to, it's nice to tip the massage therapists, who are students.