Okay, so I promised I'd tell you about the guitar lesson. And then the whole Nazi thing got in the way, as it unfortunately will these days, and it took a week longer than I anticipated. Sorry about that.
But now that the chemo adventure appears to be over I'm taking some time to reassess. While people tell me the new "hairstyle" I'm sporting is in some way becoming (what it's becoming they never say), they're missing the point. It's never been about whether I thought I looked good--it's about whether I think I look like me. And so far I'm just beginning to come back. I'm certainly a long way from where I started, but I have a much longer way to go. I'm prepared for that and am fine with it as long as progress is being made.
(People have been telling me to "keep up the good work" and things like that, which is interesting seeing as how growing hair requires remarkably little effort. I don't do anything and now that the toxic chemicals are out of my body the hair pretty much takes care of the rest on its own. But I digress.)
Part of reassessment is living with the wakeup call that cancer can be. This is no dress rehearsal. We ain't here forever, friends, so now's the time to do what you've always wanted to do, and make the changes that you've been putting off for a moment when you "have the time." You have the time when you want to have the time, and if you don't, maybe you don't want the change all that much.
So I've joined a gym. I have an extra 30-40 pounds on me that need to go elsewhere. And while I have addressed this particular issue many times in the past, this time I'm considerably more determined than all but maybe once before. Again, it's about looking like me. That guy in the mirror with the Marines haircut has a face I recognize but everything above the forehead and below the neck seems grafted on from another person. The gym (affiliated with the medical facility where I had my chemo and am doing my every-two-month maintenance) seemed a logical choice. The rather inflated price it will charge me the first of each month will act as extra incentive and the people who work there don't seem to let you just wander in and hop on a treadmill for 20 minutes, then call that your "workout." This is going to be serious.
Changes will also have to be made to the way I eat. By this I do not mean that I'm going to stop taking nourishment by mouth or refrain from chewing my food. No, I'm going to have to rethink the entirety of my diet and the times I eat (whether they are for legit reasons or because I'm distracted, bored or just feel like chocolate). This will be more gradual, but the change will be made.
And I'm starting to take guitar lessons. I've been playing acoustic guitar for a disgusting number of years now and plateaued at slightly-below-adequate decades ago. The chemo presented a strange opportunity in that it caused neuropathy in my hands and feet. The feet weren't that big a deal because the neuropathy was very mild and didn't affect my walking or anything else I do with my feet, especially when wearing shoes.
My fingers, on the other hand, were more severely affected. They're much better now, but at its height it was difficult for me to hold a glass, to open jars, to start a flame (with a lighter) when I was getting ready to grill dinner, and at times it was hard to work because typing was a challenge (I still managed--the 1000 words a day wait for no man).
Making a D chord was pretty damn near impossible.
Now with the neuropathy almost gone, I saw the chance. I was going to have to teach myself to play guitar all over again. Why not break some of those bad habits I'd had for 40 years? Why not learn to do it right this time? In short, why not not teach myself, and let someone do it who actually knows how to teach?
So I've had one lesson so far. This is going to be hard but maybe a year from now I'll play better than I ever have before. After all, this is no dress rehearsal.
In the meantime, I think it might actually be time to retire the collection of hats I accumulated during the chemo months. No, I'm not giving them away--each one has a meaning tied to the person who gave it to me or the reason I got it myself--but I've never been a hat guy and now that I don't have to worry about scalp-burn or excess cold, I'm going back to not being a hat guy again.
It's time for some changes. More on that as we go.