[cancer] The dread and fear of things

Slept pretty well last night, something close to normal in terms of both quality of sleep and duration. Woke up pain free, though that didn’t last long.

Every now and then the reality of my current situation hits me from a fresh angle. As I’ve observed before, when your life is such that metastatic colon cancer is good news, you’re pretty deep into the Twilight Zone. (And I’m thinking Golden Earring here as much as Rod Serling.) I mean, I used to think the word “metastasis” meant “the grenade’s gone off, kiss your kids good-bye”. And maybe it does for me, too, though I continue to retain my fundamental optimism about all this.

Likewise chemotherapy. When I think, really think about what’s going to happen to me in slightly over two weeks, it scares me spitless. I mean, this is raw, nasty stuff. Heavy metal poisoning. Impotence. Cognitive impairment. Immune system failures. Chronic, persistent nausea. Carcinogenic chemicals flooding my bloodstream. Forty eight hours on an infusion pump. I’m going from an asymptomatic disease to weapons-grade pharmaceuticals. Still, the only way forward is to walk into the fire. So walk into it I shall.

Really, chemotherapy is kind of like eating mushrooms. When I really think about the biology of fungii, I can’t touch them. When I just think, oh, a mushroom, they’re delicious. Chemo’s the same way for me, it seems. Don’t think, just act.

The marvel and miracle of it all is that I still go to bed, i still sleep, I still wake up, I still exercise, I still hang out with , I still live, love, laugh, eat, crack wise, write stories, get confused by literary contracts, go to work, do laundry. Spoons or no spoons, I get things done. I live.

So the dread and fear is there. The sheer enormity of it all could overwhelm if I let it. I am well loved, well cared for, and have good insurance. That and a bit of non-neurotic compartmentalization is what it takes. Because the stark, raving truth of this is hell.

Also, I wanted to note that the responses in comments to yesterday’s post about why I talk about cancwr so much [ jlake.com | LiveJournal ] are varied and moving. Well worth the read, if you’re interested in such. Most of the action is on the LiveJournal side, so start there.

3 thoughts on “[cancer] The dread and fear of things

  1. Kay Graham says:

    Hi Jay, its been a year or so since I saw you last. We had dinner at a little place in Moreland. We talked about your cancer battle and those of my sisters. In following your blog the months since it seemed like you’d won, but cancer has a way of sneaking up on us. The fear and the dread, those are natural. My sister has been through 2 rounds of chemo 3 years apart, with hospice in between. She got up out of that hospital bed and lives her life like tomorrow doesn’t matter, only today does. With chemo it seems like the cure is worse than the illness and there will be days you want to give up, but you won’t. I wish you strength and joy in the coming weeks.

  2. Kevin says:

    Cancer patients are all brave and couuageors people because they can look straight ahead and fight for their survival. Unfortunately, it’s how the society treats them that gets them down. When they stare at the balding heads of the cancer patients, when they show their pity instead of sympathy, they think they are doing a good thing for the cancer patient but they don’t know that what they are doing is worse. I hope these people gets a change in mind.

Comments are closed.