Brunch. Sex. A drive. Shop for antiques. Take in a movie. Chilly out? I got sweaters and coats! Sex. Nap. Dinner. Goodnight.
That was then.
Get going about 11. Take pills. Put on clothes. Determine whether or not my energy level allows for an outing. Decide to stay home. Make brunch for husband. Sit down. Get distracted. Shit it’s time for bed. I don’t want to sleep yet.
This is now.
Why can cancer cause such considerable collateral life damage? Cancer doesn’t differentiate shit from shinola in a life. The life delta between pre and post diagnosis may be the most insidious, least understood variable in all the known cancer literature in the universe. Just as we can not see out into the vast universe with the naked eye, neither can we see into the hearts of those afflicted, though we’d like to think we know what their lives are like.
For stage 4 patients there’s no end to the unseen damage and ugly yet simply passed onto and thwarted changes to their lives. Here’s my little personal list of things you may not see about my works even if I stood naked and shivering in a dehumanizing hospital gown, ass showing, dignity stripped away before you:
- My really embarrassing lack of cash. I generally have no expendable income whatsoever and when you ask me to go do something like see a movie I have to think if I can get cash from my usually negative bank account. Seriously.
- My wardrobe changes are for comfort. While I’ve made an attempt to try to become fashionable hot flashes, neuropathy, surgery, and other fun shit like that require layering my clothes, loose shirts and skirts to not irritate painful body areas, and shoes that don’t hurt my chemo made delicate feet, for example.
- I do not particularly want to receive every gift in pink.
- No I really don’t know what you can do for me but I wish you’d just do anything.
- No I don’t know what I really want to do. Really. I wish it were not the case but I can’t tell you what my body will allow for next week either.
- I’d love a massage by someone who knows how to deal with bone mets.
- I’d give my left uncancerous tit for a long hot bath. We have only one bathtub in our house and it gets used daily by an 18 year old teen boy. No thanks.
- Please just send IT. Whatever IT is I am sure your thoughts of me will bring a smile to my face.
- I’m not ignoring you. I am at some appointment or I just am tired of talking.
- I know you’re not purposely ignoring me either – we don’t have to talk about cancer and I don’t really want to, either.
- Yes, I want to hear your complaints about life. Just because I haven’t the same issues anymore doesn’t mean you can’t vent to me. I’m still me.
- I’m worried about losing my insurance as we get closer to Trump taking over the country. I’m really scared of this.
- If you have something curable and you’re not taking care of it, I totally and completely resent you because of what I am taking to get incrementally better and stay alive.
- I still want to be treated like a woman not a neuter.
- I WISH TO THE UNIVERSE that I could work full time. I would make a shit employee with nine business days per month dedicated to my cancer treatments, tests, support groups, appointments, not incisive of recovery and bad days and my lack of punctuality.
- I hate not having much appetite.
- Constipation causes my legs to fall asleep on the toilet.
- If I don’t get to eat ice cream I won’t be happy.
- If another person tells me to juice or do coffee enemas or I shouldn’t do chemo or I better try ____, they shouldn’t be shocked when I am not there at the end of their monologues.
- I don’t look sick. Really? What does stage 4 cancer look like, Sam Spade? I swear if I hear that one more time and get your stupid judgmental look of “aha,” you petty and tedious excuse for a professional private detective working with a medical degree – I will punch you really hard. In the groin. With an anvil.
I want to thank you for sitting through this whiny rant. Now onto bigger and better things.
I have ice cream sandwiches in my freezer. I’m gonna grab one and forget about life for a moment.