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[Cancer]

[cancer] No one expects the Spanish Inquisition

Flew into San Francisco last night. Plane was only a little late, and the airport van was completely full, so it took a while to get home to . Whereupon I discovered her in the Witchnest with the building alarm shrieking and the power out. Some fiddling with the alarm panel took care of the shriek, but the power was a couple of hours coming back. This crimped our evening routine, but we successfully improvised.

This morning I have the oncologist appointment here at UCSF for the second opinion on this year’s New Adventures in Cancer. Though I’ve been looking forward to this, I find myself tinged with dread today.

A lot of new words have entered my life in the last fourteen months. I didn’t used to be able to pronounce “metastasis”, and “tumor” wasn’t something that came up in conversation very often. Likewise “resectioning” and “chemotherapy” and “oncologist.” Hush words. Scare words. The kind of words that if you’re talking in the elevator or on the telephone in the departure lounge, people around you fall quiet and strain to listen while pretending to unobtrusiveness. The experience of cancer has inflected everything from my travel schedule to my vocabulary. I don’t suppose I ever understood the miracle of my good health until it was undermined by the enemy within.

Another thing I’ve been thinking about is the unexpected nature of all this. Cancer is like the Spanish Inquisition in my life. Prior to April, 2008, if you’d asked me to list my likely causes of death, I’d have put heart attack first, followed by a more generic listing of cardiovascular disease, followed by a none too imaginative set of possibilities ranging from falling in the shower to airplane crash to death by jealous lover.

But cancer? No one in my family dies of cancer. Not that I’m dying now. But no one in my family gets cancer. We’re a heart attack family, pure and simple, on both sides. As a doctor of mine said years ago, we don’t live long enough to get cancer.

So the rearrangement and derangement of my life continues. I’m coping pretty well with the current uncertainty, and rather afraid of finding a bad certainty this morning. Or in last week’s MRI, whenever the read comes in. Or the upcoming CT scans.

The only thing worse than a bad certainty would be continued uncertainty. I’m tired of the unexpected, at least in this regard.

Life is for living with all the knobs set on full tilt boogie. I’m doing my best, damn it.

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