When I was going through chemo I couldn’t keep any solids or liquids down. Everything I took in I would throw up. Being diabetic, I thought, well I need to get my electrolytes and my sugar up, so I came up with the idea of freezing a bottle of Gatorade. Since I had chemo-brain I thought I could freeze a Gatorade and cut it into slices like a loaf of bread. It obviously didn’t work out. You can’t do that with a dull kitchen knife. I got pretty frustrated at that time.
All the swirling around the mouth symbolizes that I couldn’t use my mouth to even eat or drink anything to get my sugar levels up. So it brings you to the point of desperation where you don’t really think out what you’re trying to do. You’re just trying to do it out of desperation and urgency.
It was frustrating trying to cut through that, trying to make slices out of it. Then you eventually beat it and bite it, and then you get angry and slam it on the table. That was a pretty hard day.
You recreated that one moment in three paintings. It must have been a really bad day.
It was a pretty bad hour. I had a bad day every minute of my life at that point. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t cut it like bread. Well, asshole, it’s frozen Gatorade. I had to crack the bottle open and try to suck out the juice. And I still threw it up. It was a no-win situation. All lose-lose at that point. But we got through it.
It’s hard to imagine a breaking point when you’re already broken.
It didn’t help that I had every side effect that came with the chemo. Some people don’t. There was so much thrown at me that you just got to go into autopilot and do it. Sometimes people ask cancer survivors, “How did you do it?” Well, you don’t have a choice. You have to do it. That’s kind of our instinct to survive. No matter how many suicidal thoughts you have beforehand once you’re actually dying you get into gear and try to work toward your survival. And sometimes it doesn’t seem worth it because the chemo almost killed me before the cancer did. That was pretty harsh. Blisters on the gums. Feeling weak all the time. It’s a life of constant vomiting. You try to make it for the ones you love.
I don’t think I could relive or do that again. There were so many times when you just want to give up, and you can’t. And then you survive to live an ironic life and then you’re like, fuck I wish I had just given up then. Like, why the fuck did I keep going on? This shit sucks. I’m in this world now. Like, why did I fight so hard?
But I did and here I am til it kills me the next time.
If it ever comes back just write me off because I’m not doing this shit again, ever. Fuck that. I won’t even go in for CAT scans anymore. Good times!
Alex S. Arizpe