They say the last thing to go when you’re on the way out is your hearing. I don’t know much about that thankfully, but I can state clearly in my case that the thing to come back firstly after a heavy dose of chemotherapy is the appetite. I’ve been gorging like a mofo this last week, eating dinner, and then having to nip out each night for a sneaky crepe to fill my belly with lashings of lovely melty cheese. More worryingly I have rebooted my addiction for Pot Noodle’s Bombay Badboy, and given that these toxic tubs of fiery fodder are so rare in France, I’ve begun to fetishise them and demand anyone who comes within 50 feet of me from the old country has to bring me some. I’ve got hooked on Pot, as Macca would call it. You can probably guess that my world is very small at the moment. Claire is in Britain as we speak, and she just sent me the following picture. “It must be love…” she wrote. What a lucky girl she is.
The appetite has returned but not a lot else so far. Chemotherapy robs you of your waking hours, your desire to go out, your sex drive, your ability to think, or to even read or watch TV sometimes… As I mentioned recently, meditation has been my saviour throughout this time, and I feel it’s had a positive effect on my psyche. Well that and the psychologist I’ve seen a few times who will tell you two or three excellently selected platitudes, and then up your medication by 5mgs. I love that guy, he’s a hairy maverick who smokes like a train and does things his own way. He’d probably get struck off in the UK, but he’s been doing fine work cheering Parsians up since the November attacks.
The medication has improved my mood and the mediation has helped put things in perspective. Just because you don’t have cancer right now doesn’t mean other issues of less gravitas don’t become amplified. My pitching brain is unruly, and even when I get a good idea, I’m reluctant to send it to editors because I know what an effort writing a piece will take. I sit and wonder why nobody is giving me any work, then I realise that most of the things I pitch for do actually get picked up, I just don’t have the energy to send out most of the pitches in the first place. Nobody is going to come knocking your door down unless you’re that heroic twit who got snapped with a hijacker earlier this week.
I get these ideas, like I wanted to write about all the things that irritate the fuck out of me on Instagram (the fact you can’t hide people, incessant selfies, the fact you can’t hide people who take incessant selfies, shots out of the window of aeroplanes, people’s dinner, people flaunting their alcoholism, people’s babies, people who are too desperate with their hashtags, people who are still sharing Starbucks spelling their names wrong, people who share what they’re reading to demonstrate how brainy they are etc etc) and then I thought, ‘who wants to read this hackneyed curmudgeonly old bullshit?’ Not I. Oh okay, I do. But who wants me to write about it? And then I think, why not write about the chemo, and then I think, who wants to read that depressing self-indulgent nonsense? Self-doubt has crept in. I’m not sure what magazines to pitch anything to and if anything’s a decent idea at the moment – but this will hopefully pass as I get back to full fitness and have the energy to wrestle editors to the floor like a dog eating a bone. Or something. Right now my brain’s as flabby as a Wendi Deng sexual conquest.
I did manage to do a bit of running last week, though leaving the house in Paris at the moment is inadvisable unless Uber send ’round an arc. In less than two weeks we head hopefully for sunshine, in Sicily, a place Claire and I have always wanted to visit. I’m hoping it’ll draw a line and mark a new chapter when we get out the other side.