I’m a little put out with cancer, this morning. I’m never happy with cancer, mind you. But I manage to maintain a fairly sane level of ‘meh’ most days. But today, not so much.
I was up most of the night, nauseous. It happens with alarming frequency. On a scale from ‘brief interruption of an otherwise stellar night of sleep’ to ‘call my mother at 2:00am to drive across town to help clean up the carnage and take me to the E.R.’ this episode was somewhere in the middle. Not horrible but I couldn’t get back to sleep and now I am grumpy and unsure about the bone-in rib eye I bought for tonight’s dinner.
It is deeply unfair, this list of chronic bullshit that came with my treatment. Having cancer should be enough, shouldn’t it? After years of injections and infusions and surgeries, I think I’ve earned a pain-free, trouble-free, chronic bullshit-free life. But that is not how it goes. That is not the deal I struck.
Because I did strike a deal. I made a deal with science and medicine and all my doctors. I negotiated with God and Baby Jesus. I dealt with Buddha, The Universe, Enlightenment Nature, Yaweh, Mother Mary, Ganesh, St. Jude and any other theological construct that decided to show up.
Science and medicine said ‘listen, this is bad, real bad; we can throw all of medical science at you and maybe it will work and maybe it won’t but if we don’t you are dead in six months’. And The Universe and her merry Band of Beliefs said ‘yeah, what they said but there is comfort to found and you can stop with the promises to quit cussing and be a better person, we provide our service free of charge’. I signed up to make a go at living longer.
Most of the chronic bullshit, I’m so used to it, I don’t even think about it any more. I know more than a few people in my age bracket who are beginning to crumble and they don’t even have cancer. Some of this bullshit, though, it seems excessive, like the gastric issues and the gynecological bullshit and the chronic back pain and the cognitive dysfunction, and and and and.
Cancer isn’t an above board negotiator, though, We all know that. Cancer and science and medicine and the band of beliefs don’t always disclose all the costs involved in living longer. I’m not sure I could have gotten through treatment with full disclosure. Hope is a powerful thing. Hope can keep you going when nothing else can. Hope for a good result is what pulled me out of bed and made it possible for me to return for a tenth chemotherapy, when I knew what it is going to be like, when there was no mystery about what the next seventy-two hours of my life was going to feel like.
Hope isn’t a part of things now, I mean not in a day to day sense. The chronic bullshit is not going to get any better. I have improved and healed as much as I am going to. What starts now is the inexorable slide of those things which are only going to get worse. I feel it bears repeating, I think this is a little much.