I’ve been kind of quiet, blog-wise, lately.
Things have been busy.
Things have been hard.
Things have been weird.
It’s hard to figure out where to start or what to include.
After all, this is the world-wide web.
So, my dad is in the hospital.
I went up to visit him cuz my girlfriend had buggered off and I was alone and I decided I might as well make the most of my free weekend, so I fired up the mighty 4×4 and drove and drove and drove.
The good news is that driving, alone, with the music cranked, really helped clear my head on some long smouldering issues on the subjects ‘what do I want?’ and ‘how can I get there from here?’.
After an extra long drive, due to not quite grasping the subtle nuance of several directional signs, I ended up on a not completely incorrect highway, but one that added about 2 hours to the drive.
But it was a beautiful drive and I am glad I made the wrong turn.
When I finally arrived at my dad’s place, I walked in the front door and found him on the couch, unable to get up.
Seems the old man had a dose of the pneumonia.
He has been in the hospital for about 10 days now, and frankly, I am not sure what his future holds.
I think he is awfully sad, and tired, and he misses my mom more than I ever would have expected, and I think he just feels like checking out.
Maybe I am wrong.
But he seemed very much like a man who was tying up loose ends when I spoke with him.
So, that’s hard enough.
And sad enough.
And I don’t even know how to begin to process that.
See, for all intents and purposes, I lost my mom when I was doing chemo.
I think my poor old dad couldn’t believe his Old Testament luck in 2004.
I need to make sense of the fact that I have lost my mom and I am going to lose my dad sometime in the not too distant future.
Like I said, that’s hard.
And I am in school.
I thought that would be great.
And it is.
But it takes an enormous amount of my time and energy.
It isn’t that it’s hard, because really, it’s not.
But it requires about 35 – 40 hours of my time and attention each week.
And I already work full-time.
I am really glad that I am in school and doing something different.
And if the way the gals in the bar were reacting to me being in library school is any indication of what my future holds, I am all for academia.
It’s just a bit of an adjustment.
And I am finding that I am trying really hard to make sense of what the hell I went through last year, but it is such an enormous amount of information and emotion and memory and ideas that I end up doing a Linda Blair and my head spins around and it’s a mess.
And I think I am messing up my relationship with too much Linda Blair.
Actually, I think (sshhh, this is a secret) we both have our Linda Blair moments and that makes it extra specially hard.
But here is the thing…
and I don’t mean this to be anything discouraging to anyone still in the trenches with cancer…
but here it is:
I think cancer eats a big hole in a person.
Leaves you looking like a freaking donut.
It takes something from you and from the people you love who go through it with you.
My girlfriend and I, we are the donut people.
Sometimes I think I can hear the wind whistling through the empty spots we have, where cancer wore through us.
And I don’t know what to do about that.
I love her more than anything and just want us both to get back on track.
I thought we would be cancer super-heroes.
Turns out, we are just regular, and that, just like my veins, we got some scar tissue to work through.
I wish it was different, but it isn’t.
And after all that sister-Mary-Sunshine routine, here is the kicker.
The thing you have been waiting for.
Last week, the nice gal who does the genetic testing at the cancer agency called me.
Asked me if I could come in and get my test results.
“Why sure,” I said.
Now, my girlfriend was super-busy doing 12 hour days for the movie industry, for The X-Men3, of all things, so I didn’t mention it.
And I was pretty solidly convinced that I was going to get good test results, so I wasn’t too concerned.
Oh.. let me back up some.
See, there is a bit of an overlap between breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
And there are two gene mutations called BRCA1 and BRCA2, that’s what they look for in the test.
Testing positive for the gene mutation means you have this wildly unpleasant chance of getting breast cancer and/or ovarian cancer.
Anyway, back to the funny story…
I didn’t tell my girlfriend because she was busy and because I didn’t think much about getting the test results and a whole lot of other reasons.
But I did happen to mention it to a friend in a phone conversation that morning.
She said that I couldn’t go by myself and she said she would come with me.
She’s a bit bossy, as are all the women I really enjoy, and she got on the phone and re-scheduled a job interview and then came to the meeting with me.
Have I mentioned how much I like the gal who does the genetic counselling?
She is just so nice.
So, the other E. and I went in to meet with the nice genetic counsellor and we sat down and chatted a bit, and she asked me if I was nervous about my test results and I said, no, I hadn’t had time to get nervous yet (bearing in mind that they did the blood work for this test about 10 months ago and since then, I have been waiting, and waiting, and waiting and waiting).
We all chatted for a bit and then she opened my file and said, “You test positive for the BRCA 1 gene mutation.”
I confess, I was gobsmacked.
It was *so* not the information I thought I was going to hear.
See, no one in my family has ever had cancer.
I am the freak, in that, and a few other, ways.
It makes no sense.
But there it is.
And what that means for me now is, I have a 50 – 85% chance of developing breast cancer in my lifetime.
I will go get mamograms and MRI’s, every 6 months.
I can have a mastectomy tomorrow, if I want.
Okay, not tomorrow… but pretty freakin’ quick, I reckon.
I don’t know what I will do.
It’s bizarre to think I have been walking around since birth with my cells mutating.
That’s weird in its own right.
And now, apparently I should make some major life decisions about stopping that.
Gawd, I miss the lazy, hazy care-free days of 2003.
If you have a lazy, hazy cancer free life, even if you hate your job, or the collection agency calls you at dinner time, or your ex took all your valuable electronic equipment, or you didn’t get to start in the big softball game, or your girlfriend was necking with some mindless bimbo in the bar, hey
I am here to tell you.
That stuff doesn’t matter.
Carpe fucking diem, amigo.
I’d be so happy to have some little problems, some time soon.
Anyway, that’s where I am at today.
I don’t know what I am going to do.
I have already been thrown back into the system of all things cancerous, so I am waiting for my phone to ring, so I can make an appointment with my newest doctor, the one who specializes in the bosums.
And there are a whack more details I have to take care off, and doctors and peeps I have to meet up with.
And I am kind of pissed off about that.
I’ll tell you the truth on that one.
But yesterday, I was out walking, and I thought, I am not going to make any major life decisions till I finish this semester.
So, sometime in December, I’ll try to get to the bottom of all this.
Untl then, who’s your favorite mutant?