The Night Shift
Annie calls it the “night shift,” which is as good a way as any to describe my nocturnal schedule. I have been up for just over three hours, it’s going on four o’clock, and my watering is finished. Proving there is life after Reggae on the River, I have been immersed in my work amidst ninety degree temperatures for thirteen consecutive days.
I ain’t bragging-just sayin’ it like it is.
My list of possible endeavors (I prefer the term “endeavors” to that of “chores”) for the wee hours includes the aforementioned watering, roasting cuts of meat in the oven, canning tomatoes, giving the outside of the stove a thorough scrub-down, doing the occasional piece of writing, mopping floors-just about anything that does not produce noise.
I have to scrub pretty hard with that mop to wake Annie…or the Doze.
I would prefer to go to sleep at ten every night and wake up around six, but hey, 7-11 is what it is, and if I can stay in bed for another hour or more, it’s gravy. I have the time to get artistic and I have the time to gather my thoughts, as fragmented as they often turn out to be.
I know they are sometimes fragmented because I have mentioned to various friends and family recently, that Annie is undergoing an experimental program at UC Davis, in Sacramento, to deal with her Stage IV progression of kidney cancer. I have erroneously used the term chemotherapy, in addressing her treatment, when I should have been saying immunotherapy.
Chemotherapy seeks to kill, shrink or otherwise hinder cancer cells.
Immunotherapy includes a variety of approaches designed to augment, or redirect, the body’s own immune system, to destroy the tumor cells.
One significant difference between the two approaches to fighting cancer, is that immunotherapy targets just the tumor, and not normal tissue, unlike chemo, which cannot distinguish between the two.
Annie has to travel over to Sacramento every three weeks for her treatment, and that presents a logistical challenge, but she has a great deal of support, so it makes it more doable. The worst is that it leaves her drained of energy.
|A girl and her dog|
Draining physically, but not necessarily emotionally, the program affords a great deal of hope. There is no cure; that is a given. Time is what there is-time and the quality of life. Whereas I normally do not step into this realm in my writing, Annie being an extremely private person, she has ventured out into the political limelight as an advocate for patients’ rights.
In doing so, she opened up a door to her life that beforehand was always kept locked. Out of respect to and for Annie, I have rarely touched on her health.
That being said, however, and never having heard the term “immunotherapy” before, I think she would feel that this was an acceptable reason to vary from my normal course. Aside from radiation therapy, the third most common way to fight cancer, immunotherapy offers an alternative to chemo of which you-like me-may never even have heard.
Working the night shift is not something I have any control over, but I do still have control of my writing. If there is a typo, then there is no one to blame but me. So let me go ahead and post this piece-it will only take a minute.
Just as soon as I run it past Annie.