Friday, 7 October 2011


Yesterday sucked swamp water. I thought I was fine, mind you - but wolves and ravens were lurking just out of my range of vision.

I am talking to Catie, who tells me she has launched an auction to raise money I will no doubt need for the expenses that I don't want to believe will keep popping up out of nowhere. I feel very peculiar about I've suddenly become a Cancer poster child. I know she's doing it out of love and concern and hell as much as I don't want to believe I'll have all those expenses, I know that's just denial talking.

Call interrupt sounds and it's the hospital. Could I come in on November 7th at 9:00 a.m. to see the medical oncologist. I scribble the information down.

"Oh. And you'll need to have your blood work done at 7:30." Seven-thirty? In the morning? Sweet Jesus.

"How long does it take them to process the test?"

"An hour and a half."

"But that's the busiest time of the day for the blood clinic. I might not get in for an hour."

"I know," the nurse says,"if it's too crowded, go up to the 11th floor to the blood clinic that's just for chemo patients."

I press "flash" on the phone and go back to my conversation with Cate. A minute later, call interrupt sounds again. It's the Oncologist's nurse.

"Sorry. And you need to come in for an X-ray on November 4th."

I scribble the additional information and when I go back into the call with Cate, suddenly my voice is shaking. I'm starting to cry and I'm resentful and angry as hell at how my life has been kidnapped by Cancer and the Zebra it rode in on. I'm downright pissed that, much as I try to find some semblance of normality, there is a hosptial appointment every other day to remind me that "normal" has left the building.

In addition, my cat has been officially adopted and I'm stuck with a paradox. I'm grateful and relieved that friends have given him a really good home. I'm happy to know that he cuddles with Jan, that people play with him. That they are charmed by his habit of using his water dish as a finger bowl - how he dips a paw in, and uses it to wash his face. I've honestly never seen him drink out of his water dish. And he comes to the door to greet them now - rather than running away and hiding. This is such good news.

But I can't stop crying because now it's real. He won't be coming home. I go through all the reasons I simply can't have him. That even my sweat will be toxic when I start chemo - and I would pose a danger to him if I even petted him. That I would not be allowed to clean his litter box. That Goddess only knows whether I'll have surgery yet or develop the slightest temperature and have to admitted to the hospital. I know I can't yank an autistic little cat through all that. But my heart only knows he's not here and I cannot stop crying.

I pick up the phone to call Wendy - and it's dead. There's a message on the screen. Check phone line. So I pick up my emergency cell phone - the one without a plan that costs 30 cents a minute - and I call the repair service. After 30 minutes, the Muzak stops and someone answers. I report the problem. I know that it's not just my phone because I can't get through to a neighbor in my building who has the same provider. The kid on the other end informs me that unless 3 customers report their dead phones, it's "an isolated incident." I ask how they are supposed to report anything when their phones are dead. I call my super, who has a reliable phone provider, and she tells me someone else with a cell has called and been told that a repair crew will be out on Tuesday. It's Thursday night. Are you kidding me?

I send a blistering email to Eastlink and by some miracle, they answer me an hour later. It's an area problem. It will be fixed by morning. They are refunding the money I wasted on my cell phone on my next bill.

I take two Adivan, grab the Kindle Cate gave me and spend the next half hour reading Denis Leary's "Why We Suck: A Feel Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid." It's just what I need. Leary is as abrasive, bright and politically incorrect as his character on "Rescue me." He's pissed off at everything from pictures of Brittany Spears lady parts to people who raise over-entitled children. The book is a rant from beginning to end. And aren't I just in a ranting kind of mood? Yes. I am. I recommend Denis Leary to anyone who feels like putting a fist through the wall.

Finally, I fall asleep. For twelve hours.

I wake up with puffy eyes & a slight medication hangover - and a dead phone. But the sun is shining. It's a gorgeous fall day. And my friend Colin is taking me out for some dashboard time. Soon, I will be stoic again. People will mistake me for brave because I'm not a blubbering, furious mess. Soon I'll have something more encouraging or inspiring to say. Really soon, I hope.


Cynthia Newcomer Daniel said...

Ah, you're human. Good. Love you.


Howpublic said...

I'm laughing. "Human" sounds SO much better than whining, self-pitying wretch.

Roberta said...

I love Denis Leary. I am putting that on my "Books To Read" list.

As far as the money raising thing goes. Your friends want to help. They feel helpless. Let them help.

Hang in/on.

Cate said...

Brilliant was usual. I want to call you but you obviously have too much phone time these days. Will be in touch soon!

Love you!

Howpublic said...

Roberta...just try to stop them. I'm just the kind of person who could break a leg and insist that I can walk to the hospital myself...stubborn and just a little dim at times.

Cate...well too much phone time suddenly became no phone line at all for nearly 24 hours. The universe must have heard me and hexed Eastlink. Got my phone again now. Sorry about the weepy meltdown, doll.

Anonymous said...

I stumbled on your blog from Board game geek. Reading your story, I couldn't help to compare with my situation. I won't bore you with details, suffice to say that the anxiety was also enough to make me cry. Which brings the question: have you considered antidepressants? They help me a lot. So much so, that I can now live "normally". I know how many people will think that taking them is a like abandonning a struggle, but truly, the benefits far outweight the very temporary burst of shame. Just two cents. Wish you courage and luck.

Howpublic said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Howpublic said...

Hello Board Game Person! Thank you for reading and commenting - you are the first to do so from that site. I have not considered anti-depressants..yet, anyway. The idea of adding one more chemical to the three anti-nausea meds and the two chemo drugs is, at the moment, kind of horrifying. And I do have better days. It's just that (and I'm sure you know this if you are in a similar situation) you have really bad days sometimes - but not every day.
If you are going through treatment now, I wish you success and many good days - and strength to get through it all. I sincerely appreciate that you popped in to read and left such a thoughtful comment. My best to you.

Anonymous said...

I'm also a board game person! I don't have much to add or any wise words, but I wish you much strength and love for the coming year.

Howpublic said...

Hello there other board game person! Thanks so much for the good wishes...all positive energy is so much appreciated.