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[cancer] The Door That Never Opens Twice

Well, I’m on clears today. Last night was my last normal meal for, oh, quite a while. So I organized a family dinner at De Nicola’s.

was back in Tacoma for some much-needed R&R, and couldn’t make it, but pretty much all the rest of the Portland family loop were there — and her mother, Mom and Dad, and her retrostepson S— (yes, we’re a Southern family, why do you ask?), and her friend C—. as well as the Niece, my aunt M—, and Youngest Daughter. We were a mob in the back room, the dinner culminating with a dramatically architectural cake baked by . I believe there are photos somewhere, but I no got them.

Amazingly I am still sleeping well, though tonight will be the killer. I am waking up quite early, and as I said yesterday, my world feels very narrowed.

Anent the Big Fear, I’m down to two right now. There’s the one which crosses over into rational fear, about playing an endless, downhill game of whack-a-mole with a metastatizing cancer. While’s that’s possible, to all clinical indications it seems unlikely. It still dogs me.

The other is my unreasoning fear of general anaesthetic. I’m not even too crazy about sedation. I have my pre-op anaesthesiology consult today, and I will be rational, thoughtful and attentive, but by tomorrow morning the snakes in my gut will be the size of a sewer pipe coming out of my rib cage. I felt this way before I had my septum fixed back in 1999, and was fine. Like I said, unreasoning fear. Big Fear.

Still, the true terror for me is not dying. Oddly, I seem to be able to accept that possibility, slight as it is, with an almost eerie calm. The true terror is dying without waking up first, and being unable to say good-bye. So to manage that part of the Big Fear, I am writing some sealed letters today, which I will make a ceremony of shredding, or possibly burning, when this is all over. Just so my voice can be heard by my daughter, my parents, everyone else whom I love, one last time should I somehow manage to pass through the Door That Never Opens Twice.

I am brave today. Tomorrow immediately before the surgery I shall almost certainly be a gibbering craven. The day after that I will still be alive, and I will have won. Someday soon we shall all laugh together.

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