Aug 152007

So, it’s been a very carcinogenic time lately.

How to explain.

My dad was re-admitted to the hospital for lung cancer/COPD/pneumonia.
That situation remains up in the air.

A friend, who was diagnosed with OVCA last summer, has been given a bed at the local cancer agency while she argues with them about whether or not she is palliative. It is her ferocious intent that she will go home and visit with her cats and work on her garden.
It strikes me that there are people who have, understandably I guess, taken that diagnosis and decided she is checking out, in spite of her kicking and refusal to just go along. I think that’s what people who aren’t sick need to do for themselves; start shifting their connections and, in some ways, pulling up their drawbridges.
I understand, and still, as someone who had plenty of people interact with me in a way that implied I had one foot in the grave, I will always back the long shot, cuz my friends, I am the long shot my own self.

So, that’s happening.
It’s weird on so many levels.
It’s a bit like staring at a fork in the road and seeing how someone else got the much rockier ride.
And do I feel any guilt about that?
More than you will ever know.

And then, last week, as all these things were shaking down, I made the ridiculous mistake of going through my “Copies to Self” file in my e-mail. I confess, I hadn’t gone through that file in several years. And in it, I found so many e-mails I had sent to women who have since died of ovarian cancer.
I’m counting four just off the top of my pointed little head.
Which leads me to wonder why I got to dodge that bullet and these other marvelous women took the hit.

And that’s not to say that OVCA didn’t completely destroy my former life.
It destroyed the most important relationship I have ever been in.
It messed with my work and my career aspirations.
It did strange things to my relationships with my friends.
And still, amid the fucking rubble that is my current life, I am the lucky one. Or one of them.

I’ve been really angry for the last few years about that which I have lost because of cancer. And unless you are a cancer survivor of some stripe, save yourself the keystrokes before you tell me something all sage-like, cuz you don’t understand cuz you can’t understand until you’ve done it.
Don’t mean to offend, just stating some facts.

Anyway… I have been angry. Cuz I was terrified.

And here is an enormous confession.

I remain terrified. Hence the crankiness.
Cuz whether you get it or not and whether you have already exhaled or not, for me… they still send me to a place at the cancer agency called the High Risk Clinic.
The folks at the cancer agency are only willing to say, “you are in the group of people which we view most optimistically”, and that’s when I live in a statistic of having a 20 – 30% chance of being around in 2011.
So, hey… I am one of the lucky ones.
And inside of all that, how weird is it to say that. But in spite of all the losses, I still get to wake up too early and go to work and curse that, and have my heart go in all its crazy directions, and if there are folks crying for me, it’s for things much less severe than because I left this mortal plain too soon.

So, I guess this makes me stronger.

It sure as hell has made me crazier.
And it has made me angrier. But I feel that I am turning a corner.
If I am gonna be here, then it’s time to get going and indulging, and letting go of that which torments me, to whatever extent that is possible.
But I feel so much less interested in being tormented by imbeciles and their presence in my peripheral vision.

Wish me luck.

And wish whatever you wish/hope for for the women still duking it out with this damned disease.

Rodger Dodger
over and out

 Posted by at 9:32 pm

  5 Responses to “That which doesn’t kill us…”

  1. I hear you.

    That’s as sage like as I can get.


  2. Love the way you lay out the mixed feeling we struggle with as ovca survivors… I tend to be fairly even keel, but sometimes..
    For example, on my April ct scan they found a nodule on my thyroid. My oncs decided not to delve into it… why I ask… because, you have bigger problems, after all you have – ADVANCED OVARIAN CANCER..
    I guess that trumps anything else, short of an emergency type of situation.
    So our mixed up feelings can and are fueled by life and survivorship.
    Sage? no, our new lives.
    Keep up the great postings Spike!! you put into words what I can’t express.

  3. hey there Spike

    I was just looking at my blog tag count and noticed that Fear is the single most frequently used tag in my blog entries about my various entanglements with cancer this summer-that-has-not-been-a-summer-at-all. My life is organized around fear these days, which is an incredible shift — like, a tectonic alteration of my previously known self. I dunno when or if that will change. Probably like many readers of your blog, I am drawn to it not just b/c our paths have crossed and criss-crossed over the years and I think yer fuckin eh smart and politically right on… but b/c your words express an incredible resilience and courage.
    So keep on writing, and keep on keeping on.

    big hug


  4. fear and anger and guilt.

    guilt. It can be paralyzing for us. I have become pretty active in helping out… but it is hard, sometimes I want to stay away. I don’t want to know these women I work with. I’m afraid of the guilt we all feel if one of us gets sick.

    anger. I’m angry that I can’t buy a house because I used all my money when I was sick. I’m angry because I am so afraid. I’m angry at my body. I’m angry that no one can tell me what caused this. I’m angry there are no answers.

    fear. It seems as though every time I fart I go for a ct scan. There needs to be a better diagnostic test.

    living. I got to live. I’m two years out… I’m exhaling a little bit now. I’ve got three more to go before I can exhale fully. Living for me means putting the bad shit aside (fear, anger, guilt) and just let myself see the beauty of every day life. There is lots of beauty there… I soak it in and try my best to add to it. I can’t let the fear guilt and anger stop me … I get to live.

    Best of luck to you.

  5. Anger, fear and guilt have been chronic visitors in my mind. I keep giving them the hint not to come back but they still return.
    I try to “live in the opportunity” of my situation and ignore statistics mostly.( I give some credit to the ones in my favor.)
    I try to keep up on the lastest development in treatment via the internet.
    Sam, there is a better test than a plain CT called a PET scan. A radioactively tagged sugar is injected into the bloodstream and cancer cells absorb the sugar much faster than normal cells so the tumors light up on the scan. Even very small tumors that wouldn’t be seen on a regular CT can be detected.
    Keep writing, Spike!

 Leave a Reply



You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>