Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Monkey Brain

Final? port access: bloodwork for the port removal
Apparently when you are practicing meditation and your brain is jumping around from one thought to the next and you are almost unable to focus on your breath at all, this is called "monkey brain".  I frequently experience monkey brain during my time on the cushion.  And I find I'm not necessarily thinking about my To Do list, or being afraid of death, but often more trivial things like cupcakes.  And then once I get cupcakes in my head, I cannot seem to get them out.  In between focusing and refocusing on my breath, I compare frosting from different cupcakeries (Georgetown vs. Velvet Sky vs. Brown Betty vs. Dozen, for example).  Each has different textures and flavors, and getting hung up on them makes me hungry.

So, like I said, monkey brain.

Just a few of the tools needed for a port access.
But I also find myself making astute observations during this quieting time.  Unfortunately, it's very hard to remember them afterwards since a)I suffer from chemo-induced memory loss and b)I'm trying my best NOT to think, just to breath.  Last night, during deep relaxation in class, I was lying on the floor, trying my darndest to focus on the teacher's voice, breathing through my feet (whatever that means), when what sounded like an alarm clock in another room in the building started blaring awful terrible tinny pop music.  I found myself not just wishing that someone would shut it off, but that the music never existed in the first place.  Seriously, there are ears that enjoy hearing this?  I don't remember a time when this ever sounded good to me, and certainly not while I'm trying to peacefully listen to the sound of my body breathing.  I've never been good at tuning out sounds, so I guess that's something else to add to my list of challenges.

Fortunately, I am not criticizing myself for this (that would be counterproductive), but rather noting it and moving on.  I am trying to be in a place with no self-judgement, only loving-kindness, or maitri.  But more on that later.


Hear ye, hear ye:  I am getting my port removed on Thursday.  For such a small piece of equipment, this feels like a big milestone.  I've read on some cancer forums that some oncologists recommend keeping your port in for up to 2 years after your first clean scan, you know, just in case.  Luckily, mine felt quite comfortable allowing me to schedule the de-portation pronto.  And while I'm sure I'll have some soreness there for a long time, I'm hoping it will lessen as the years go by (fingers crossed for years going by).

This morning, a beautiful box of produce arrived from Suburban Organics.  I purchased a deal on Living Social a few months ago and had been waiting until Spring to schedule a delivery.  See how beautiful?  And very little packaging!  Plus, they reuse the boxes and liners (when you get your next delivery, you return them).  This is sort of a test run to see if we can use all of the food in here (and this is a small box)!  I like that I could substitute anything on the list with something else in season (up to 5 substitutions), so I did not have to get a bunch of swiss chard if I wasn't really going to cook it.  I like zucchini better.
I think I'm in love

In other news, I have enjoyed video chatting with my kids at school the past few weeks.  I even read a few books to them over the computer.  People continue to ask me when I am planning on returning to work.  I have mixed feelings about this (the returning, not the asking).  On one hand, I know I'm physically not quite up to the job yet.  My breathing continues to feel as though it's through cotton balls, I get light headed easily and I still need a nap around 2:30 every afternoon.  On the other hand, I am not ready to call it a year.  A year of my life to cancer.  I know it could be much worse and I know there are other ways I can frame it, like this is time to heal, to take care of myself, to bring my body and mind back to a place of strength, yadda yadda yadda.

But any way you look at it, it's still time that took me away from living freely, from my job as a parent and as a teacher, necessary but sucky time that put us further away from having another child... And so I am still grieving for that time lost (or stolen).  Clearly, I don't have an answer for when I'm returning to work.  For now I will continue to e-visit and iChat with my kids, cook yummy foods, practice yoga and meditation, make puppets, sew, get my port removed, and rest up.
Argh.  and Shiver me timbers.

My first pirate puppet: Henry of the High Seas

1 comment:

  1. I am a 100 percent monkey brain. It's so impressive that you're learning this art. The closest I've come is imagining that emotions are like knots and they unravel when you breathe through them and suddenly all is peaceful and relaxed. The brain however continues to rattle. Congrats on the port, on e-teaching, on sewing, and zucchini... and gradually rediscovering all the things that got lost in the C year. XoXo