using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Lions Roar : November 2011
SHAMBHALA SUN NOVEMBER 2011 65 me to the ER, where I fainted again and woke to starched hospital sheets, white walls, gray floors. You cannot imagine the desolation of an emergency room until you are lying on your back, oxygen pour- ing into your nostrils, an IV pumping into your arm. Before that day all these things were foreign to me. I hadn’t been in a hospital, as a patient, since the day I was born. I had never imagined what it felt like to be reduced to this: my breath, my heartbeat, blood surg- ing in my veins. This body and the light of the soul are all we have. Yet it is enough. It is so much. When I was wheeled up to the doctor’s office, when I looked around and saw my mother standing in the door, I was already halfway home. A LL CHEMO DRUGS are a pain in the ass, but steroids taste the worst. Their effect lingers on the palate, sour and fuzzy, long after they disappear into the bloodstream. This is my preferred method: drop the itsy-bitsy green-colored instruments of gag onto the back of the tongue and then slide them with the teeth into the throat. Swallow. Drink water to dull the after- taste. Feel a gradual charge spreading throughout the body, like a train or an airplane gearing for take-off. Welcome aboard Flight No. 2 to Chemo Land. This is your local oncology unit speaking. Taxi over to computer. Take silly pictures wearing purple wig and aviator glasses and post them to blog. Execute a jig. Try not to think about chemo. Think of nothing but chemo. Envision body as temple of light, and carbo- platin and taxol as equivalents of nectar and ambro- sia—the food of the gods!—instead of poisonous chemicals designed to kill all fast-growing cells, not to mention deprive head of beautiful, thick, luxuri- ous hair. Sleep. A few days after buying the wig, I snipped the remaining wisps of hair off my head. My poor scalp felt tender and it was not an easy process, but when I was done I didn’t burst into tears as I half expected to. Instead, I felt liberated. I looked at my stubbled head in the bathroom mirror, tilting the doors on the medicine cabinet so I could observe myself from all angles. “Bald is beautiful!” I declared to my audience of one, the dog, lying on the hardwood floor outside the bathroom. She did not look impressed. When I knelt beside her, she kissed my face and rolled over so I could scratch her white belly. Of course she didn’t care whether I had hair. Nor did she know that my hair, grown out in thick waves to my waist, had been my main vanity as a teenager and the one time I cut it, aged fourteen, I cried. No, Zoë didn’t care about hair. She loved me and I loved her and that was all that mattered. Just about the first thing I said after the doctor diagnosed me with uterine cancer (a disease usu- ally reserved for grandmothers), was, “Now that I’m going to be home for a while, can we please get a dog?” And from the beginning Zoë has given us life, just as her name promises. On a miserable August afternoon, following one of the worst doctor’s appointments in history, we followed winding roads to a farm where Australian shepherds ran up and watched with their uncanny blue eyes as we got out of the car. The breeder led us into a sweltering room where she brought out two six-week-old puppies. I had my heart set on the little black tricolor, having seen her picture on the internet and believing that she had “princess-like” qualities. (Apparently there’s nothing like puppies to bring out my inner six-year- old.) But it was the fluffy reddish-brown one with the murky green eyes who crawled up our legs and said to us with all the conviction of her small being, “I belong with you.” And she did. At least someone in the family has red hair and green eyes, even if it’s not me. How do you redefine the lineaments of yourself? You must realize that you have no boundaries. W HEN I WAS A TEENAGER, I loved Alexander the Great. Other girls could have their Edward Cullens, Jonas Brothers, whatever; my heart belonged to a centuries-dead Macedonian conqueror, even though I had this niggling suspicion that if I actually met the dude, I might not like him very much. There were his alcoholic tendencies and massacres of Indian populations, as well as pretensions of divinity. But who I wanted to make people laugh. You’ve got to laugh. Chemo is no laughing matter.