I’ve been called a lizard. Not because my nickname has been Liz for so many years, but because I’m addicted to sunshine. On warm days, I plan my activities so that I maximize my time in the sun. If I need to sit in the house or at work, I slowly follow the sun’s rays throughout the day so it can warm my skin at it shines through the window. There’s a special spot in the library at Cornell where I work in the winter and through the dome of our yurt the rays beam through as a circle, and Vida and I both arc our way around our circular home. The yoga studio I go to faces East and one bitter cold winter morning, there was a nice sliver of sunshine beaming through the window. I placed my mat there and I moved it slowly to the left throughout the practice. My yoga friends laughed with love at my addiction.
But, this morning, I don’t like the sun. Waking up, I opened my eyes and it looks like a beautiful day. The sky is blue and the sun shimmers on the flowing pond water. But the moment I feel the beauty of this day, it ends abruptly. The feeling is squashed almost before that warm sense of gratitude even arises.
Today is chemo treatment 10. 3 more to go. 3 is a big number. Chemo makes everything dark, everything foggy, everything painful and everything taste bad. It turns the sun into something that teases me; provoking me because I can’t be outside. Today I can’t warm my skin from the sun’s warming rays and I can’t walk beneath it’s radiance. This type of living needs to wait. Chemo teaches me perspective. Every 14 days, the best case scenario is that 2-3 of my days are a wash – almost as though they don’t exist. On these days I sleep, I rest, I watch movies, I read if my mind is capable and I drink tea. But worst case scenario is the side effects take hold. I am in pain. I take pills. I sleep. My years of practicing being present in the moment go out the window and I wish more than anything that the time would go by rapidly.