[cancer] The edges in my head

I promised an update on the emotional journey of the past week or two, and so, here it is.

First of all, the big secret which should surprise no one. I am not brave. I am not fearless. I am an arrant, craven coward who loves my life beyond reason. The measured, thoughtful responses you’ve seen from about my cancer have been real, but they haven’t been the whole story by a long shot.

I spent over an hour last night in ‘s arms, sobbing. I cycle through outbursts of fear, grief and rage. Though in truth, most of the time I’m fine, and I can even go a day or two at a time without thinking of it. Much.

No matter what this is, it’s very early stage. Even at the worst case, my personal numbers are much better than the medical statistics. As my mother said, I’ve never been at the center of the bell curve in my life, why would I start now? And we’re a long way from worst case. The lung spot is just as likely to be a scar. The lymph activity could have been a transient infection. The liver is the most difficult to explain away, but it’s also not fuly confirmed.

If I come out of this clean, I’m going to be embarrassed as hell. But embarrassed beats the hot snot out of surgery and chemo. By the same token, surgery and chemo beat the burning bile out of continuing down the cancer road untreated.

So where have I been? In some dark places and some very bright ones. My fundamental nature is quite positive. I can go pretty ‘splat’, but I always bounce back up. I cope by looking over the darkest edges, then walking back from there. These edges are pretty damned dark. But the love of my family and friends, of and , of my virtual community and total strangers: that carries me a long way.

Maybe this will come out clean now, all turn into a combination of scanning errors and the mighty power of coincidence. I hope for that, but I can’t afford to think it, to plan for it. That’s not where the main chance lies right now. I have to look ahead and sort through what will happen next.

In other words, a short and winding road with a lot of weird emotional weather, but some very bright lights and brilliant hearts serving as my guide.

8 thoughts on “[cancer] The edges in my head

  1. Personally, I think you are very brave. To me, brave is being scared out of your pants and continuing on anyway.

  2. {{{JL}}} What she said.

    It would be crazy if you *weren’t* feeling this way. The big deal is getting up every morning, doing what you need to do — including the crying or the screaming or whatever — and telling the truth about it, most of all to yourself, but also to everyone else who might be able to make use of it in some way.

    That’s huge. That is so huge.

  3. Deidre says:

    I have to agree. You are extremely brave! You continue to write. You continue to live your life. You aren’t cowering in a dark corner just waiting for the future to come find you. I think you are doing the least cowardly thing possible and I admire that.

  4. Bridget Coila says:

    Agreeing with everyone else here… you ARE brave and I admire your ability to handle things face-on in the face of the fear.


  5. Courage – Fear = Stupidity. Being afraid is a completely normal feeling with this, Jay. Even the most courageous people I know have their moments of breaking down. It means you’re human.

    And hopefully it is all coincidence and all you’ve gone through is for naught. But if it isn’t, this part will prepare you to deal with what is next. Bravery is dealing with the issue, and it’s even more brave to share with the rest of us. That response right there puts you ahead of the curve.

  6. Scott Havens says:

    I think bravery is just getting up every morning, and continuing onwards with both life and your dreams to the best of your ability. The dark places only let those bright spots become even more illuminated.
    And I hope, as we all do, that this is all just a coagulated glitch cluster. But if it’s not, your courage will go along way towards helping you…as well as all the abiity to recognize that truth and share it with others as you so eloquently do. I agree with the poster above me: to share this all so nakedly with us all is so brave. I know that bravery will put you in good stead in the days and weeks to come.

  7. Todd says:

    Take a few words of advice from someone who’s been there. Four years out from the last treatment, and the doctor said I had less than a 50/50 chance of getting this far.


    That doesn’t mean you aren’t brave. Courage is in how you deal with your fear. Do whatever you have to to hold it together. If that means falling apart once a week in the privacy of your own heart or the arms of your Beloved THAT’S FINE. You do what you need to so you can do what you have to. That’s the real test of courage under fire, and so far you’re doing just fine.

    This isn’t like a fist-fight which will be over in couple minutes or a an accident where you’ll crash or escape in the next three seconds.

    This is a fight for your life in slow motion with no enemy except your own body which has turned on you. You’d have to be certifiably insane to be matter of fact about this.

    What’s more, you will go into that room and let them hurt you. And you will do it as often as you have to. You will do it first because of how much you love your woman and your child. That was obvious the first time I saw you with either of them. And you will do it because of how much you love your own life.

    That’s the real proof of bravery. I have no doubt at all that you will pass it.

    Like I said before, if there’s anything we can do to make it easier get in touch. That’s a serious offer.

    1. Jay says:

      Thank you.

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