In essence, I am an extrovert. This is hardly the revelation of the century. I would clarify it by saying I am an introverted extrovert. If such a thing exists. By this I mean, I enjoy people. I love company. I gain energy from being with people but I do not much like being the centre of attention. I am far happier organising someone else’s birthday party than having one myself, for example. The Captain is my polar opposite. He is a loner. That we muddle along so well is testament to opposites attracting. His idea of hell is endless time with people. Mine is endless time alone. And therein in lies my problem.
One of the unexpected side effects I have struggled most with is the inherent loneliness that comes with chemotherapy. Like most people, I am finding a pattern to each cycle. The first week leaves me feeling ill in pretty much every way imaginable. There are times when my arms ache so much I cannot hold the telephone for long. My concentration span resembles that of a goldfish with ADHD and I fall asleep at the drop of a hat. But this passes. The second week I still struggle with exhaustion but am able to do more. However, this co-incides with me being unable to go places due to my risk of infection. And having seen my blood results, this is getting progressively worse. So I am housebound much of the time. I can receive visitors but not go places like coffee shops or cinemas. Finally my last week arrives, the celebrated good week, when I try to do at least one lovely thing. My lovely thing or things have to vie for space among the minimum of two (sometimes four) trips to the hospital that also occur during this time. And then it all begins again.
This pattern means there is a danger I can go for nearly three weeks without seeing a non hospital related person. Apart from the Captain. But if he attempted to be my one man entertainment centre twenty four hours a day, I think we might kill each other. As mentioned before, FaceTime or Skype video calls have been my salvation. At least this way I get to interact with someone. And thank the Lord for social media. But I do miss real flesh and blood people.
As I keep telling myself, this is only for a season. It is finite. It shall pass. I am half way through. There are times though, there are times.