I AM alive.
Barely, but I am still kicking. I have little energy these days – who would, after surviving six months of chemotherapy only to find that the mothereffing drugs created a scarring in my lungs that I ravaged with 40 years of smoking (that by-the-by did nothing to those breathing balloons) but eight little cycles of chemo created fibrous tissue that stops the flow of oxygen to my system. The brain, too, hence my lack of writing the last several weeks.
Just call me Sarah Heartburn.
But ‘twer it only the lung/breathing issue but NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Here’s the list of the rest of the crap:
- Fibrous tissues in the lungs stop my breathing hence they stop me from walking;
- Next up, deep levels of fatigue leading also to feeling unproductive – feh!
- The last CT scan also revealed a small hiatal hernia, affecting my stomach..WTF?
- Whoo whoo, a lymph-edema, a horrific swelling of my right leg refuses to go away;
- To check the edema they did an ultra-sound – yippee! I have a blood clot!!!! Yea!
- Now I am on Coumidin and being stuck like a freaking pin cushion for blood levels;
- Also means sticking myself with syringes full of something to distribute the Coumidin;
- Finally, last Friday I was struck by the most vicious pain I have ever experienced that may well be BURSITIS on my hip, making sitting and walking, which is already difficult, nigh impossible.
Think I am a little pissed off???
Remember the evil witch flailing on her broom to illuminate the infamous memo to Dorothy for her to surrender? Tho this was the very first movie I ever saw in a real theater (my aunt Dora took me, in a dress under which were a million crinolines as was my wont at the time to show I was dressed up – I was four) I thereafter never recognized let alone perceived the witch’s statement as anything more than what it seemed – her flying and green skin were the things that caught my attention as did Dottie’s great red shoes. Until I had a number of gay friends it never occurred to me that this scene ever existed other than to show Wicked Witch West’s ability to soar and sky write….
Well, I don’t have any wicked witches trying to get me to surrender, just evil doctahs who are not paying attention. The SOB’s. Like the idiot pulmonologist who asked me to rush my CT scan then didn’t bother to read the report after giving him five days from distribution of said report to my in-person appointment with him.
Don’t misunderstand, surrendering is not giving in or giving up for me. No fucking way – not remotely.
Surrender is resigning myself to, yielding and consenting compliantly to the evil tortures this disease and the ravages of the medications are causing as my body is breaking down. What fucking choice do I have? But this is all getting ridiculous…
I started an art therapy group some weeks ago. One woman spoke of the trauma surrounding her illness talking about her surrender — not an easy thing for an independent, self-sufficient and fully capable person. I understood exactly what she meant when she discussed this. Fact is, it’s not about the disease: it’s all the people in it and the adjacent crap outside it.
Between the first two sessions I could not stop thinking about the term surrender. I’d already been deeply contemplating the phrase “fighting cancer” that always seems to pop up when talking about someone that either has or dies from this dread disease. That phrase has never set right with me…why would I want to fight something that is insidiously stealing more than half my energy?
One of my doctahs agreed: “Fight cancer? She said. “Wouldn’t that be exhausting??”
The bell rang to a question I’d been postulating for months.
“That’s it — precisely!!” I responded. ”EXHAUSTION!!!! I don’t want to fight this, I want to deal with it, get thru it, get past it, survive it, but I don’t want to fight it. I’m already exhausted; why would I take one ounce more of the energy I have left to give it to this fucking disease???”
I felt much better after talking to her. But the answer still eluded me until I heard this new acquaintance speak about her troubles and they were many, the most important that one of the doctahs attending her was not listening to her when she was complaining of not feeling well and he basically impounded her into an ICU – stuck there for two days against her will and contrary to her real illness. She talked about surrendering herself – her body, her mind, her wishes, her soul to these idiots only to go home after this hospital imprisonment to find that she’d been robbed.
Surrender. Surrender of this kind is acceptance but not acquiescence. It is an understanding that the people around you are not hearing you and you must not allow them to condescend and pretend to hear your choices and views, or blow them off. I’ve walked in to doctahs offices with lists of complaints that were both viable and valid, and even when they read the page down the entire list those viable and vital complaints were ignored. What I failed to recognize at that moment though I thought I was surrendering – per my definition of being complaint and fair — was that I was giving in to the stupidity of others, and choking on my own strengths, rather than surrendering to the reality of being ill and thus taking control.
You cannot control the illness, more often you cannot control the idiot doctors but you can force them to understand who you are and what you will tolerate or not.
Remember I said the last CT scan revealed a hiatal hernia – not a big deal, but I’d been complaining of stuff going in with my diaphragm for over five years and NOT ONE Doctah heard that complaint. I called it flutter breath – I’d have an intake of breath and would compensate by taking two or three short breaths at one time. Not scary but annoying and certainly indicative of something not right, if not something decidedly wrong. It was an anonymous physician who wrote a report that was looking for lymph node sizes and fibrous materials on my lungs who reported this small issue that seems to me (after reading the symptoms and affects) to reveal significant things about the way I have been feeling…duh! And still not one doctor has presumed accountability for ignoring this fact.
So, I will not attempt to control any of this but I’ll be damned if I am giving up or allowing those sons of bitches surrounding me that are badly controlling my health to do so. The idiot pulmonologist is getting fired forthwith – I gave him four weeks to contact me after promising to read that CT report and getting back to me. Have you heard from him?
I fucking surrender.