When I get home, there is nothing I can do but heal and think, learn to navigate with severed abdominal muscles, research cancer, and try not to anticipate what the pathologists have found. I feel tender, smaller that the diminished sum of my parts. My belly swells over a ledge of sutures. I sit in a recliner and watch the world spin outside my narrowed boundaries. I read a book called ANTI-CANCER by David Serban-Schreiber, a doctor who survived brain cancer. He suggests that health and well being depend on the balance of our bodies’ various systems: autonomic, hormonal, emotional, and on the communication between these systems. If the communication is good, health emerges. If not, it vanishes. He uses this diagram to illustrate this idea:
The triangle is suggested by the correct positioning of the circles and their missing wedges, but they do not touch – implying that health is delicate, improbable, ineffable, like gravity. The slightest nudge could knock one of those circles out of orbit. Within a few days of being home, something has nudged one of my wedges.
“Don’t worry,” says the advice nurse. “You have a yeast infection. The antibiotics you were on during surgery killed the bacteria that keep those yeast in check. We’ll give you a cream that will knock out the yeast. Start taking acidophilus.” “And what about giving myself the Lovenox where the yeast is? Will this shove them inside and wreck some other havoc?” “I don’t think so, but how about giving yourself the shots in your thigh?” I try this. The skin is tougher there and it hurts, but not a big price to pay as I nudge myself back toward balance. The implication here is that if health is so delicate, then some wispy hair trigger may control cancer.