[cancer] Home, looking ahead

I am home in Portland. Spent last night in the quiet of my own space. Surprisingly, I slept well, with no memory of either dreams or nightmares this morning. My body perseveres even while portions of my brain panic.

Nothing more happens til the Thursday surgical consultation. After that, well, I’ll know more. Episodic uncertainty is certainly the name of the game here, and that uncertainty runs in epicycles as well. Smaller worries spiral about inside of larger ones, which are themselves folded into metaworries. My fundamentally optimistic nature has largely resurfaced, but still the wheels turn.

A mixed response to my thought about getting cancer tattoos. As and others have pointed it out, writing its name permanently upon my body can be seen a grant of power. Yet I write cancer’s name here on the Web, and in hundreds of conversations. And in doing so, I steal away the power of secrecy and shame which with cancer is invested by our society. I continue of two minds on this. (Speaking as someone who wears ink, I am also wise enough to know that one does not get a tattoo while feeling double-minded.)

I did suggest yesterday to that I might cut off my hair and shave my head before chemo, and in doing so get the tattoo on my scalp. She was not even remotely enthusiastic about this plan. Again, to me it feels like an owning of the shame and fear and grief and anger. Perhaps my thoughts are too extreme?

For the nonce, I indulge in comfort eating; an old, old stress response which is bad for the weight, and at best of transitory benefit to the soul. I have decided to just let go of this worry until schedules are settled and fates are sealed, especially so long as I continue exercising.

Finally, as I will never catch up to all of you individually, I want to extend my heartfelt thanks and appreciation to everyone who’s approached me with support via these blogs, over email, chat, text, Twitter, in person, at conventions, via postal mail. As I’ve said before, if love could cure cancer, I’d be the healthiest son of a bitch in North America.

The ones I love most are at the center of my world, but you all are an army marching into my future. On the wings of your regard, I could fly free for a thousand years.

3 thoughts on “[cancer] Home, looking ahead

  1. There is no doubt about your strength or self-knowledge, and those qualities will carry you far in this struggle. Keeping your awareness, determination, and fortitude are crucial elements for living as fully as possible, in this situation even more than in “normal” life.

    My mom shaved her head before chemo. She had her hair done, perm and all, and right before the first treatment had it shorn off. Friends gave her wigs but after wearing one she decided instead to wear hats. I was very proud of her for that. It took her some time but she eventually decided that she would make as many decisions as she could during treatment and let the cancer take away as little as possible. I hope I am as brave as she was, or as you are, if (sadly, likely when) it happens to me.

  2. Meran says:

    About the hair: I hear it grows back darker and stronger, have even seen this!
    And talk, all you like: talking is good, very much so… It’s an excellent way to “own” your problems… I practice talk therapy myself, tho I certainly don’t have the support system you have 🙂
    ink wearers are their own beings, surely. Giving power to the cancer, ach, that’s not a good thing … It is absolutely your right to do what you like, of course… But if I wrote all my major problems on my skin, using that same argument, I’d be the modern female version of The Illustrated Man… And it wouldn’t be funny nor therapeutic (I realize that doesn’t exactly follow, analogy-wise 🙂 ) and I think it would make people Run Away ( which would be funny)
    Live Well, Jay, be well regardless of treatment,, and if I can bring you something, please feel free to call on me. And that goes for Shannon too

  3. Cliff Winnig says:

    Jay, I hope tomorrow’s consultation goes well, and I’m sending you very warm wishes and prayers for health from San Jose. Be well.

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