The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie's Lingo

In the few months I have been on Jakafi, I've had bronchitis twice, throat fungus once, and stomach flu, also once. The other night I said to L. I need to get back into the mode I was in when I was on chemo (for breast cancer)--sleep a lot, stay far away from people who are the least bit sick, and be super-vigilant about exposure to germs. Example from bc-chemo: I was at a cafe and ordered a sandwich at the counter, and saw the sandwich-ista was handling everything--no gloves or anything. (I already sound like a nut, right?) and I said, Excuse me, but I'm going through chemo, and I'm very susceptible, could you please--what did I ask her to do? She either had plastic gloves back there or not. Maybe that's not a good example. What I wanted to show was I had to overcome embarrassment in order to protect myself. I recalled that the plastic bag that the bottle of Jakafi comes in says CHEMOTHERAPY in scary zig-zag letters, or there is something lightning-boltish about the warning. So I legitimately am in chemo. Going through chemo. What is the correct verb? I arrived in Arizona yesterday for the Nonfictionow Conference, and I wanted to skip a group dinner, but I didn't. It was fun (though the food at the Dreary Inn is twice the price it should be and one fourth the quality) but I would have been better off sleeping. I slept late and ran into the conference organizers in the very cute Matador coffee shop across the street from the hotel, which is somehow encompassed by Northern Arizona University, or NAU ("gnaw"--the mascot is a beaver chewing on a log) and R asked if I had gone to a morning panel. I said, No, I had to sleep, I'm in chemo, but so that he wouldn't be alarmed, I said, but it's good chemo.
Why do I need to keep people from being alarmed? I do have this fucking incurable and rare blood cancer. It's not the hair-falling-out chemo but it is the suppress-your-immune-system chemo. Suddenly, if I convince myself that I am indeed going through chemo, then my world-view ( Weltanschauung) and my priorities shift: My goal becomes making sure that I don't get sick. I suddenly have the right to that goal. And everything else follows from that.

1 comment:

Cancer Bitch said...

And I did sleep well at the D Inn, which has big rooms and free popcorn.