I wrote this last week and didn’t post it for some reason. The week after was pretty much the same thing repeated though, so it’s still as relevant as a post of dream buffalo can be. I’ve been so unwell I haven’t been able to do much in the way of writing, but I hope to get a few posts in this week.
I’ve had a bad few days.
Actually it’s been a pretty bad ten days.
I knew my last run at chemotherapy would be bad, but I had no idea how bad it would be. I constantly vomited for days on end, so much I burned my throat and while the general upchucking has stopped I can’t really talk. When I do try to speak above a whisper I sound like I’m speaking through a Darth Vader voice synthesizer from 1988, complete with elderly battery and broken hardware. It’s also been painful, and pretty emotionally rough. My wife has been amazing, looking after me while I’ve been alternately bedridden, vomiting or in hospital. I can see why people used to fully hospitalized while they went through high dose BEP chemo in the past.
By the way, I got thoroughly ticked off for not calling the hospital sooner about the vomiting thing. It was done in the generally friendly and caring way of nurses and doctors everywhere in oncology, and yet I was left in no doubt that I had in fact been a stubborn idiot in assuming there was nothing that could be done.
So, if you are one of the unlucky few that has to go through this, when the hospital gives you a card and say ‘call us’ they mean it. Don’t wait.
The throat burning has put me in a weird position. Obviously I haven’t been able to eat until lately, and even then it’s only in tiny amounts. I haven’t always been lucid (hence the lack of blog posts) and have generally been feeling a bit sorry for myself, so I turned to a previously unknown comfort:
I couldn’t choose a favorite, although I did just see Nigella Lawson make a margarita ice cream that is going to be in my face’s future. I’ve watched Jamie Oliver and Rick Stein travel to exotic locales, and Michelle Poh do amazing things. I have watched a lot of YouTube food bloggers.
Yes it’s torture. It’s the best sort of torture, and one I subject to willingly. My mind appears to be able to appreciate the food even though my mouth and my stomach can’t, and far from making me feel sick, I actually feel oddly satisfied seeing Rick Stein plate up an enormous bowl of Sicilian spaghetti. So really it’s not a bad thing, more a way to keep my mind and body happy while I recover.
Except, I really want a pizza.
While not just any will do, I would be quite happy with either an exceptional New York style slice, a cheesy deep dish Chicago pie or a charred, mozzarella laden Neapolitan endorsed masterpiece. I have not actually eaten any of these pizzas in my lifetime. I’ve made my own approximations, and I’ve certainly eaten enough pizza, but these pizzas in their truest form exist only in my mind and a kind of bizarre cheese and topping baked fantasy that tugs at both my dreams and my waking thoughts. It is purest fantasy…and it’s gotten weird.
I dreamed of pizza last night. I dreamed about buying it, eating it, enjoying every mouthful. Then I dreamed I went back in time and selected the precise ingredients, even making the fresh mozzarella from a very placid water buffalo and picked the fresh basil. The tomatoes fell off the vine as I walked over to collect them. I’m not sure why I didn’t realize I was dreaming when they broke into slices and the buffalo helped me out by kneading the pizza dough, but it all seemed very normal at the time. Then we baked the pizza and ate it.
It was the greatest pizza never made.
I woke up with a real sense of loss that I had not in reality consumed my dream pizza. I watched a few shows about making perfect pizza, but suddenly they didn’t hit the spot anymore. I had been forever ruined by a pizza cooked up by my subconscious mind. I question my subconscious’ qualifications as a pizza chef. I certainly question its knowledge about the general helpfulness and relative dangers of water buffalo.
I don’t know if (probably as a teenager) you ever dreamed of a person who never existed and then woke up sad that you’d never get to meet them (or, let’s be honest here, see them naked) but it was very much like that…only more so. With cheese.
I told you it got weird.
Cancer has given a me a lot to think about. For a while there I didn’t know who I was (more on that in a future post) and I at least in part still don’t. Physically I’m a raw nerve and twitching muscles…and yet despite all this I have somehow made the time to be sad about a dream pizza made, at least in part, by a friendly water buffalo.
I like to think that, across time and space, a connection was made.
I wish there was a point to all this beyond ‘my brain is stupid’ and ‘I still really want a pizza’ but there isn’t.
Now if you’ll excuse me, Rick Stein is on.
I wrote an article over at the Evil League of Evil Writers called Taking Good Things from Bad Experiences and then Writing About Them. The ELOEW have been supporting me since well before this cancer business, and have helped me in ways too numerous (and evil) to recount here. If you have any interest in writing or publishing, I recommend them without reservation.
I have a webcomic named Cthulhu Slippers, a (sort of) office comedy set after the apocalypse. I just posted an update there if you are interested in such things.
Have you seen Jenny Lawson (The Bloggess) and her amazing Twitter based record of humanizing awkwardness? Pee first, put down any hot beverages and go check it out.