I don’t mean to get all Elizabeth Kubler-Ross on your ass, but I have a couple of things to say.
Actually, I have a more than a couple of things to say, and a bunch of them have nothing to do with cancer, so if you are only here for the cancer bits, I’ll try to get that bit up front and leave the rest of the non-toxic rants for the bottom of this post.
Okay… let’s rant.
First of all, I have been really really impressed with how cool and supportive people have been to me since I got diagnosed. I am humbled, really, by how swell people have been. People have shown up from the past and have been spectacular. My nearest and dearest have gone well above and beyond the call and have just kind of surrounded me and kept it all moving and safe.
I am more grateful for all that than I think most people can understand.
And I try to say what I am grateful for lately, and what I am happy about lately and to be attentive to what is so cool and I forgot to notice it or mention it lately.
And now I want to talk about something that bugs me about this whole cancer bullshit thing but I am not sure that I will. Or that I know how to talk about it, yet.
See, people have been great, and I don’t mean to take away from that. But today, I had someone I know say something that was basically ignorant and assinine to me, and it was from someone I expected better from, someone who I respect, and I find myself still gobsmacked from the conversation even 5 hours later. And, oddly, I don’t even know if she realized how much she horrified me with what she said. So, my head is spinning around slowly, trying to make sense of it and be more forgiving. It was just a totally strange and moralistic thing that got said in the middle of talking about me being sick.
See, I have yapping about this cancer business and a lot of the details for a while now. If you know me at all, you’d know that isn’t my style. But I think it’s important. I don’t know why it’s important, but it is and I can’t seem to stop myself. Blame my medication if you’d like, but I am all new-born yappy and you know how to work a mouse so if you didn’t want to read this, I assume you’d click on something else or go back to work or something.
And in talking about it, I really have wanted to be available to people if they have questions. Because this is weird shit and I certainly didn’t know squat about it 4 months ago, and I don’t expect anyone else to either (unless they have a white lab coat and a vial of my blood).
So, if you want to know, feel free to ask, politely, and I will answer you as best I can.
But don’t, for the love of god, make shit up.
Don’t give me some other sort of cancer or any other disease and don’t assume that it’s no surprise I have cancer because I smoked for all those years. Spare me that, okay? And if you can’t spare me, at least have the small bit of good taste to keep that to yourself.
And just to set the record straight, one more time, according to my oncologist, the 2 reasons I have ovarian cancer are because 1) I am a woman and 2) I live in North America.
It isn’t a nicotine related thing.
And in case you missed it, I quit smoking.
Now, as my girlfriend has pointed out, having ovarian cancer does not immunize me against any other kind of cancer, and in fact I have had a big ass chest x-ray and I will be having a CT scan and we will make sure everything is going okay. But barring any further disasters, could we just stick with what is real? I’d really appreciate that.
I guess it’s interesting that I would have this weird social encounter today, because yesterday was a bit of a milestone in its own right as well. See, up till now, when it comes to social things we have played everything by ear, we have surrounded ourselves with our closest peeps and we haven’t had to have too many conversations with people who don’t know I am currently sick.
But last night we went to a friend’s birthday party and it was all very nice and fun and cool. But it was also really different, because I realized that I was out of the house and around strangers, and I am not the same as other people anymore. I’m not a regular person anymore, and that is kind of a hard pill to swallow, if you’ll forgive my pun. I came home and thought about that and got kind of rattled by that.
I am not happy about that detail at all, and, unfortunately, I think I just have to come to terms with it.
That’s going to take some work.
This isn’t my area of expertise.
See, it was all okay while I framed it like a big swell party where people pay me lots of attention and if I say I’d like gelato, blam… I have gelato before you can shake a stick.
So, it’s a lot more fun to get your gelato fast because you think you are part of the royal family than it is to find out you get your gelato fast because you are basically not on the same footing as your peers anymore.
I am struggling with this.
And, let’s be serious, I am *not* on the same footing as my peers anymore.
It’s just taking me quite a few weeks to look at that for the first time.
And it’s going to take even longer than that to get okay with it.
Anyway, I have been struggling with ‘accepting’ that my life has taken a major shift.
Not so happy about that part at all.
Still, I am trying to enjoy myself when I can, and I am actually managing to pull it off.
I went for a walk to return some videos tonight, and while that would have been a bit of a chore a few months ago, tonight it was a delightful walk thru the streets of my neighbourhood. It was a lovely night and I went out by myself, which is an actual accomplishment some days, and it was just really, really nice. It felt really good to just wander down the street and look at the things people are growing in their gardens and enjoy the early evening. It was great.
So, parts of it are really being good for me.
On one hand, I have this huge source of stress in my life and on the other hand, I am much more aware of the fact that sometimes you just roll with the punches.
Of course, this too could be blamed on the adjustments to my medication.
All right.. now the last part, the part that has nothing to do with cancer, but I feel like ranting and you logged on so you get what you get.
As my fellow Canadians will know, there is a federal election this evening.
All around my city, there are campaign signs.
No big deal, this happens with every election.
Friends have asked me if we are going to put up a sign and I always find myself feeling really uncomfortable with the concept of advertising who I would vote for (as if that was an area of any suspense.)
But I wondered about that for a while, and here is my thinking.
I am all for people voting, and talking about political issues and arguing and doing all that.
And if you want to put up a little sign that says “Lupo the Butcher For Mayor”, well, I think that’s fine. Except, I just want one thing.
I think that if people are going to put up little campaign signs on their yards, then they should be automatically obliged to keep those signs up till the next election has happened. Like… 4 or 5 years.
See, somehow, all these scallywags like Gordon Campbell and George W Bush are getting elected. Well, they seem to take office, though no one ever admits to voting for them. Now, all skullduggery aside, I think some stupid bastards must have voted for the wankers.
And, I think if people are stupid enough to vote for them, then part of the cross I must bear as a carbon based life form is to endure this punishment for 4 – 5 years.
But what I want is to be able to look around, say 6 months into the term of the next stupid government, and be able to walk down the street and knock on your door and say, “Oh, excuse me, neighbour, but I notice from your yard sign that you thought Gordon Campbell is the best thing since organic wheatgrass juice, perhaps you could explain a few things to me, now that things are starting to take shape.”
I’m all for voting and participating in the democratic process, I just think there needs to me some more long term accountability than a hunk of plastic swinging in your front yard. You know, I am all about the loyalty, really. How about you folks with the lawn signs make a promise to stand by your man, eh? Is that so wrong, or spooky? Are you just afraid to commit?
Well, it’s bath time for garbanzo.
I hope you’ve all learned a lot here tonight, comrades.
Stay tuned, cuz you know it will be different next time.