Saturday, 10 March 2012
WHERE THE HELL IS RIPLEY WHEN YOU NEED HER?
According to my most excellent radiation oncologist, the alien is back and has spawned a few small friends. The friends are gaily scattered in areas of my brain other than the cerebellum – and inconveniently inoperable. Sigh. I’ve seen the pictures. Those damned white spots – here, there.
They aren’t going to evaporate, no later how much I hate them.
I swore I wasn’t doing whole brain radiation but ironically, it turns out that’s all that’s left as an option and I’ll be starting in about a week. The process will stretch out over 3 weeks, instead of the usual 2, as my oncologist thinks that will be easier on my system. It will kill the headaches, which is good – because they’re getting to be prize-winners and I’m heartily sick of eating 1200 to 1600 mg. of Ibuprofen for breakfast. The treatment will slow things down and buy me a bit of time.
I won’t kid you, there were a few tears yesterday – well after the appointment because I automatically go into shock and emotional denial when confronted with bad news. But “few” is the operative word here. Nobody lied to me about how aggressive this form of cancer is, and in my depths, I’ve been preparing for this for the last six months. I’m thankful it was Dr. Bowes who delivered the news. Somehow, he makes me feel like we’re partners – and we are doing business together. There’s a problem. Here’s what he thinks we should do about it and why. Do I agree? Do I have questions? His demeanor – a combination of honesty, compassion and competence seems to steady me.
So maybe I’ll make it to the Lavender Farm on the west coast. The crop blooms in July and September and I’ve seen pictures. It’s heaven, pure and simple. I’ll see Spring, and hopefully walk the nature trail at the frog pond, listen to the brook gurgle and sing over stones, watch the ducks, get to Port Mouton in summer, see lots of my friends. My bucket list is very modest.
Meanwhile, Heather’s room is nearly cleared out and she’s coming in Monday to paint. She’s excited, which in turn makes me feel excited. It will be so good to have her company. My bedroom/studio is shaping up too. It’s a tight fit, but cozy – like a bachelor apartment. Overall, I’m happy and managing to live in the present moment.
One of the hardest parts, for me, is seeing my friends grieve. Short of outliving all scientific predictions, there’s not much I can do to comfort anyone. I dread the phone calls to friends who don’t know yet – the ones who don’t use computers, have email or read the blog.
So, this should end messages like “get well soon” or “you’ll beat it.” Well-meant messages and well-meant suggestions for alternative cures. Probably it will leave a lot of people not knowing what to say.
Here’s a suggestion…Try not to see me as Cancer Girl. When people see me as that, they don’t tell me they are happy because how dare they flaunt that when (they assume) I am unhappy. They don’t tell you they are sad, because (they think) their troubles sound paltry next to what I am going through.
I’m still here, alive and above ground. I love to hear about YOU. It makes me feel like I’m still a part of things. I’m glad for the things that make you happy. I’m sad for the things that trouble you.
And if you pray for me – don’t pray for recovery, pray for quality of life while I'm here and a good death at the end. Pray for the people who will miss me. And when I finally go I’ll see you all in the next life.