Jay Lake: Writer

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[Cancer]

[cancer] Sometimes you hit the wall, sometimes the wall hits you

I’ve had a lovely holiday season. Right through Christmas I was at Nuevo Rancho Lake with and my family, most of whom live in the immediate area. Boxing Day and I flew to San Francisco, where we did all kinds of cool stuff with and . The kiddo flew home last Wednesday, after which and I headed for Sea Ranch to spend time with her aunt, the European-American artist Susan Dutton. A glorious drive back yesterday (watch for a photoblog post later), and then to a lovely party hosted by and . I go home today, see a couple of friends tomorrow, then comes to Nuevo Rancho Lake on Tuesday. comes on Thursday. I’ve been surrounded by family, love, friendship and holiday spirits galore.

All of that was lovely and fun, and except for a few melancholy moments, and one outburst of hysterical crying in the shower, I’ve managed not to be dwelling in cancerland for nearly two weeks.

On the way home from the party last night in the Witchmobile, that changed.

I hit the wall.

We were talking about this-and-that, as one does after a party, and the conversation drifted into how the near future will work. Sometimes when I’m stressing about cancer I get crazy in the head and start buying trouble in other parts of our life. “But what if this happens?” “You’re going to do that, and it will make me upset.” That sort of crap. The relationship and I share is very solid, but it’s also very considered. We re-examine it constantly. (Sometimes we joke about having staff meetings, but that really isn’t a bad description of the process.) The demands of our lifestyle require such continuous monitoring, but we’re also both beneficiaries of long-term therapy, and such shared introspection is a jointly acquired lifetime habit.

All in all, this is a very good thing, but my crazy cancerbrain sometimes runs away with it. Displacement, stress, whatever. I’m hitting the chemo chair in five days, and last night the pleasantly insulating holiday spirit finally burned away like fog beneath the sun’s bright-bladed rays. By the time we got back to the Witchnest, I was feeling burned out and depressed.

As pointed out last night, I have a history of severe depression. Her suggestion was that perhaps I have a horror of suffering, of returning to those pain channels carved so long ago on my psyche. That my denials and my anger and my refusals are me dancing at the edge of that dark valley. I don’t know if she’s precisely right or not, but I do know the suggestion made me angry, which is strongly indicative that she’s hit on something important.

Last night I capped two weeks of goodness and quiet calm on the cancer front with an hour or two of anguish and idiocy. was loving and thoughtful and careful, and she got me turned around enough to go to sleep peacefully.

I hate it when this disease turns me into a fool, and it very much did last night. I am profoundly humbled and fortunate to be loved as well as I am, by her, by and and , by my family and friends.

Thank you all.

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