Monday, 12 March 2012


At  3:30 a.m., the headache alarm goes off and I reel to my feet and bounce off walls, getting to the Advil. Mornings are the worst – the headaches are vicious and the vertigo has me clinging to whatever solid objects are handy to steady myself. I take 1600 mg of Advil with milk and wait for it to work before I go back to bed. While I wait, I try to read an email but can’t, because my eyes keep tracking to the right.

The worsening state means I’m going to have to take at least some steroid medication. This, along with whole brain radiation, was on my not-on-your-life list, but I value being able to function so I’ll have to eat my list and live with the consequences.

Whole brain radiation scares the crap out of me. Will I have the IQ of a turnip afterwards? Will I forget how to put my shoes on? My oncologist tells me it won’t be near that bad and Heather has mentioned that Spirolina was given to the children of Chernobyl, with excellent results. At 7:00 a.m., I am researching Blue-green algae and looking for good sources of the stuff. 

Yesterday was tough. I talked to my sister and she had to get off the phone because she was crying too hard to talk. The tears are natural enough but what gets to me is that can’t forgive herself for crying. She wants to be supportive and calm. Me? I know that when people who love me first get news like this, it’s impossible to hold feelings down. I truly feel like apologising to everyone who feels shocked and sad – but what can I say? Sorry about the cancer. I didn’t mean to do this to you? I’m serious about this. There are many times I feel worse for my loved ones than I do for myself.

Sometimes, the news scares people off. Anyone who has had a serious or terminal disease knows this. People you never imagined would come forward and help you through the journey take it on and stay through all the ups and downs . Others you never imagined would leave you, disappear – avoid even hearing about what’s going on. And they puzzle me. Someone wrote to me and said that in her case, friends said, “I can’t imagine the world without you in it.” So they simply disappeared her from their lives. I suspect others are so terrified of death that they can’t go near anyone who reminds them of it. 

Men, overall, have a harder time and often are frightened of being in a position where they might have strong emotions. After all, they’ve been trained to be “strong.” Whether it’s a genetic or conditioned trait of the gender – most men are doers and fixers. They need a concrete task. Wendy’s husband, Bill, isn’t the one I talk to about all this. But he’s come over to put my shelves up and to reconnect my computer after I move it – and I get a big hug when he leaves. That’s his way of sticking by me and I know and appreciate it. 

Then there are the friends you knew would stay and they do – but they go so far above and beyond that I am constantly amazed – and have even dropped my curmudgeonly habit of refusing help when I need it. Goddess only knows where I would be without them. So I count myself a lucky woman because so many people face these things alone. 

I’ve had a good run. I am banishing regrets, grudges and all manner of stupid resentments. I hope to make the last of the run a celebration of all I love – and of the people who love me. 

Nothing like a little cancer to put your priorities straight.

1 comment:

Cynthia Newcomer Daniel said...

Your priorities are breathtakingly beautiful lines. I want to thank everything there is that you are you and that I know you, even though we've never met face to face.

I hope the pain and vertigo goes away with treatment; I hope the rest of your time is as wonderful as you are. This post took away my tears this morning; I am basking in your beautiful and generous soul. Thank you, Linda. Thank you.