There have been intermittent times since I was diagnosed that I find myself sitting on the toilet being hit with the realization that, holy fuck, I am 34 years old and I have cancer. I’m on the toilet a lot seeing as chemo keeps me running there, and it’s always been a thoughtful spot for me. It’s actually where I was when I was rehearsing my speech to my family about my having cancer before I’d even gotten the official confirmation. I think I was hoping that by practicing telling them that it would make it not come true. Obviously: just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not after you.
Tonight I watched the movie Zombieland and then I headed to the bathroom. I started thinking and of course it hit me. It hit hard this time: Oh My Gawd I have Cancer! It’s like one of those things in life where you can see death right there in front of you and you have no control. His knock was at my door, or at least his feet were creaking on my stairs, and I couldn’t hide. When you are faced with death like that the natural instinct is to fight for your life. You don’t have a choice here. For once in my life my arguing was really life or death related and for once in my life I was taken rather seriously about it. It’s the same thing if zombies are chasing you and you can run, you’ll run. If you have a gun you’ll shoot. You will do anything to survive it. Which explains my taking the chemo they give me no matter how fucking awful it is and how much I don’t agree it’s the cure for cancer, or even near the cure.
The other day I wanted to give up. I still kind of do, but I’m going in on Thursday and I’m going to suffer through whatever happens this weekend. I was talking to someone recently who is very important to me and I could see in this person’s eyes that my having cancer was something that truly effected them; like, deeply bothered by it. A lot of people say they admire my strength and my courage; that I’m a trooper and I’m so amazing. I’ll tell you that I did not intend to inspire anyone, and when I’m screaming in my bed this Saturday begging my mommie to come and save me from the pain I will feel far from inspiring. That’s what sometimes digs into me; the fact that I know everyone knows what I’m going through is hard and they get that I’m fighting it, but that none of them really know how hard it is.
I’m not saying anyone should give me an award; I’m not the first person to do this—although I do really like flowers and massages. I’m not saying anyone should be more vocal about their admiration and support, although the support is so appreciated. I just know that most of my friends and family haven’t seen the worst, and if they saw it they still wouldn’t really know the true depth of hardship because they aren’t going through it. That is why talking with other cancer patients, especially ones my age who are dealing with similar issues and on the same medicines, has been something that has both comforted me greatly and scared me shitless. –Or was that the anti-nausea meds? See, cancer joke. Only the cancer survivors laughed.
But seeing the look on the face of this person who I know admired me before the cancer, well, I guess that truly makes me realize how hard what I’m going through is. Sometimes I try to forget so much that I actually forget. I am getting very good at distracting myself and letting myself be desensitized to the needles and IV bags and all the crazy waiting I go through. In this talk I was reminded of it being real and being terrifying. Not that I wasn’t thrilled to talk to this person, it kind of made my week, but this is a person who has helped me many times put my thoughts together so they actually make sense and since I haven’t had that in a while it was both a breath of fresh air and a wake up call. I’m simply stating that my life and the reality of my situation was returned to its natural perspective and I’m starting to remember not only the seriousness of my situation, but the reason why I wanted to fight it in the first place. Life is scary and there are days I want to drop out of it, even without cancer, but having acting in my life has made me a better person and I can’t imagine ever letting that go.
So, I guess I should thank both the makers of Zombieland and that wonderful person I talked to; I kind of needed that kick in the ass even though that was probably not your intention at all. I guess I’m surprised by what kicks my ass!