Getting healthy; more fear of progression; nightmares

Visiting colleagues & getting back to physical health

I biked to SOMA the other day for the second time since diagnosis. It felt great to do my work commute, if only to convince myself for a few minutes that things are back to normal. Also it was good to see I could still do it!

Visiting the team. I’m privileged to work with such wonderful, talented (and good looking!) people. They’ve been amazing through this journey.

I visited with my very impressive colleagues at Tophatter (think eBay, but much faster). It was invigorating to spend a little time catching up on all the projects I’ve been missing. Many of us congregated in the communal kitchen area for several hours – I definitely dragged worker productivity down a good 50%! But it was worth it. I was reminded of the a privilege it is to work in one of the epicenters of technological innovation on the planet. More fuel!

In other news I’ve had my mom in town for a few days which has been great for the kids. They love their ‘damas‘. As a quick aside she is the one that actually kicked off the whole conversation that I should get that mystery mass checked out last year which, very foolishly, I ignored for weeks. She also secured my Dana-Farber connection. Recall it was this connection that recommended the second pathology report. So in a real way I wouldn’t be in the favorable position I’m in right now without her help. Love you mom, I know it doesn’t always come through but you’ve been essential to the good fight I’ve been waging. And all this has enabled my to try and spend more healthy time with the kids.

Spending quality time with the kiddos. Saul’s chess game is getting strong!

Anyway, I bought a 7 day package at a yoga studio the other day at Michelle’s suggestion to see if that helps with my back issues. Since my mom is here, she watched the kids while Michelle and I did a yoga class together. We hadn’t done something like that since before kids and it was physically helpful, emotionally invigorating and a great way to connect with each other. My back felt ever so slightly better this morning. I’ll be taking advantage of this and getting my yoga in as I prep for Hawaii next week.

It’s just what the doctor didn’t order, though I wish he did.

Still, nightmares

I used to reserve the word nightmare for something terrifying that lasted a while. The line between nightmare and non-nightmare was obvious. But I don’t know where to draw that line anymore, it’s so blurred.

For example, take last night. In it there was a scene in which I was flagged by those around me as Jewish (‘vermin’, to be executed) by the Nazi-like society in which I somehow lived. To cut a very long and winding story short I watched the executions happen to others, not me – yet. But they were catching on to me and closing in. Instead of gas chambers (so 20th century) the destructions were personalized. Folks were put into scuba-like apparatus and would inhale the vapors while staring directly, unblinkingly at me. I remember the staring directly at me part since it was so vivid and peculiar. Folks would count the breaths and they would lose consciousness after 8 breaths, plus/minus two, while scientists stood by with clipboards. I remember deciding that I’d prefer to swim to my death if it came to that. Better to have the illusion of freedom than certain confinement if the outcome was to be the same.

In another dream (or scene, hard to say if they were connected) I was actually swimming in the expansive ocean. Then suddenly the surface breaks and it caves in a giant waterfall with the destructive power of a hydrogen bomb. I’m instantly sucked into the great ocean depths, falling for seconds (another peculiarity, remembering that). But it didn’t kill me. The deafening roar of massive waters rushing past fills my head. But I was still, miraculously, in the world of air. I was inexplicably living in this hostile and environment thousands of feet beneath the ocean. How else to describe this but that I was in a state of complete surrender. And I was just waiting – at any moment the tides could shift and consume me – was it a matter of seconds? Enough to hatch an escape plan? Or should I just savor my last moments?

These kinds of nightmares used to affect me deeply. But now I look on as an observer, mostly amazed at the stuff my subconscious comes up with in attempts to make meaning. The underlying content is of course a reflection of my current position and is so thinly veiled as to barely require interpretation. No, what’s frightening to me is the lack of impact such stark dreams elicit; I don’t think I’m numb but sometimes I do wonder.

These upcoming scans are clearly causing some anxiety. That extra energy seeks manifestation. I suspect dreams are the lowest energy solution for such expression to occur given that (it seems to me) the ego shuts down in that state. That anxiety can bypass whatever defenses my ego has devised – cortical Maginot lines. The fear of cancer progression is real. Still processing.