I wake up two minutes before my alarm with a vicious jolt. For a small moment, I forget what I have to do and marvel at the blue sky playing peek-a-boo with me. I feel an arm on my shoulder - my partner’s been awake longer than I have.
“Bad dream?” He asks.
“No,” I roll my eyes and land on my phone that’s shrilling loudly. The alarm name alerts me to my task for the day: Immunotherapy.
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My body is awake but the inner me is not. I can’t eat anything and yet my array of little tablets that come in boxes and screw bottles say I must ingest them alongside food. I eat a muesli bar and pray it doesn’t come back up in the car.
Ever since I was diagnosed the first time with Melanoma six years ago and then again, four years later, I’ve succumbed to the inner autopilot that moves my arms and legs for me, that reminds me to smile when someone is nice or do the groceries. Everything is magnificently robotic, yet inside I’m broken. I tend not to feel much, but on infusion days I feel everything and nothing. I’m merely a shell that is pushed by the currents, only moving when forced.
When it’s time to get in the car, my partner doesn’t say anything - we’re at that stage of our relationship where touch is our love language. He lays a soft hand on my arm and envelopes me in his arms.
I try with all my might not to cry for the third time that morning.
We arrive at the hospital. Every time I see the signage to The Cancer Centre my tummy does a marvellous flip, as if it wants to escape my body and flee for a host that isn’t dying from the inside out. I wish I could too.
I sit for a few moments, trying to gather myself for another long, painfully boring day that is more mentally draining than hiking the tallest mountain on earth.