I’m now on the second part of the first cycle of chemo and have been finding it tough going at times, mainly through the fatigue which enervates me most of the day but for some bizarre reason leaves me needing less sleep – typically three to four hours per day.
I’m also going through the process to be become a resident in the US having married my long-standing fiancee last year. Of course that was a process which started before I was diagnosed as having Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. One appointment was cancelled by USCIS and then the chemo started with Dr Tache’s instructions to keep away from groups of people and closed environments. Our attorney, Collett P Small, asked for special consideration because of Dr Tache’s instructions and the USCIS agreed to come here to our home today rather than have me got their office. I thought this was great, but, obviously I expected this to be a stressful interview from all I had heard and I did wonder how my chemo befogged brain would deal with the in depth questions I’d been told to expect, especially when I’d had less than two hours sleep last night and been very firmly awake since 2 a.m. The good news is that there were no tricky questions. The better news is that I should have Residency paperwork within a couple of months which will mean that, once the chemo is ended, I will be able to start looking for gainful employment.
Earlier this week we met with my attorney about my application for residency here in the US. One of the things we discussed, naturally, was my having Classic Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and my oncologist’s advice to avoid groups of people in confined spaces. Clearly the waiting room at US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) would have groups of people and would be a confined space so my wife suggested asking if special arrangements might be made for me. I scoffed at that suggestion. I really couldn’t imagine a government department going out of its way for me like that, but Adam, from Collett’s law office, took on the task of trying to arrange something and I have to admit I shouldn’t have scoffed, and I now have egg on my face. The USCIS special arrangement is that, instead of me going to their office and being taken in via a back door or being interviewed in our car, their agent/officer will come here to our house for the interview. Wow!! I mean, how amazing is that? Isn’t that just fantastic customer service? Collett had said that, as I was the husband of a US citizen, she anticipated that USCIS would be as helpful as possible, but I never expected this kind of offer. So, my thanks to Adam and the USCIS.
Having had a few bad days I seem now to have stepped back up to a point of equilibrium. I’m still having problems with sleep and energy levels. I didn’t go to bed until 2.30 a.m. this morning and only managed to sleep until 5 a.m. when I woke up needing to eat. Managed to get back to sleep for another three hours and then woke again needing to eat. It will be interesting to see whether next week’s infusion changes this pattern.
that I’ve deleted the appallingly self-pitying page I created last night! Yes, I really was that low. Yes, I really was that worked up with the world and, yes, it really was that bad though none of it had anything to do with my cancer!
The other good news is that the meeting with our attorney, Collett Small (whose services I wholeheartedly recommend), went well and Collett anticipates no problems with the immigration interview with USCIS, as my wife and I are clearly a genuine marriage. The bad news, or potentially bad news, is that the 10 minute drive to Collett’s offices and the fifteen minutes we met with her left me pretty much wiped out. “Wiped” is actually a good verb to use here as, in an air conditioned office, I was wiping cold sweat from my forehead within a couple of minutes and the hair at the nape of my neck was saturated. My wife said that my face had also gone very pale. My throat went dry so I was swallowing more and my voice went up by, what sounded to me, at least half an octave. You’ll have recognised immediately that all of these are, or rather, might be, characteristics of someone telling a lie. I trust the USCIS agent who will be carrying out the interview will have sufficient experience to be able to distinguish between the physical side-effects of the chemotherapy medication and a lie. I’m sure they will. Yes, I am. Honestly, I am. What I was surprised to learn is that there’s a possibility that my passport will receive the appropriate stamp at the immigration interview with USCIS. If that happens that would be really good as it would be something to take off my “to worry about list”. There’s not much on that list these days, which is good as I don’t have much energy to spare on worrying, but everything on that list relates to one or other of my loved ones and they really are worth worrying about though some of them need it more than others at the moment.
My body clock got another huge jolt yesterday and is perhaps heading back towards normal now. As I wrote above, the trip to the attorney’s wiped me out and I had to have a lie-down when we got back home, but, much to my surprise, I didn’t nod off. No, instead of nodding off at 5 p.m. I was still wide awake this morning at 2.30 a.m., or about 14 hours after I’d woken up. I thought that being awake so long would at least mean that I then got to sleep throughout the remainder of the night, but no, I was awake not much after 5 a.m. and then had an hours doze from around 7 a.m. I can feel the physical effects of the fatigue as I type. There’s a lack of co-ordination, my head is beginning to feel too heavy for my neck, my eyelids are feeling even heavier and my eyes are burning. It’s better than vomiting though, isn’t it.
On the other hand, maybe the reason I slept so badly was that I realised how ridiculously self-pitying and self-indulgent the now deleted page was and was worrying about anyone reading it before I took it down.