What’s Eating Me? What I Cannot Eat.

Webster’s New English Dictionary online
Definition of die, for English Language Learners:

  • to stop living
  • to end life in a specified state or condition
  • to have or suffer (a specified kind of death)

What happened to the singular of dice? Even Webster’s occasionally leaves out an obvious definition.

Eat. Even one meal a day to nourish my body and fuel my mind to stay alive and alert. I cannot eat hearty meals of rich tasty foods any longer. Once upon a time my tongue boasted the umami fifth flavor capability using rare taste buds that gave me the title of “celebrity chef” to friends and family. The Japanese describe it as a “subtle savory” and there’s debate among biologists over whether everyone genetically participates in the subtle delicate flavors. These days mostly soup – matzoh ball specifically – gets past my lips and all those inactive taste buds to settle in my stomach. My entire digestive system breaks down and becomes my canary in the coal mine of this body I so love and hate at once.

My intestines are akin to an old car’s cooling system. I know it’s time to get a new car but I love the old one too much to give it up. Pouring more money into it only gets me a few months or a year, or if I’m lucky, longer. But the fact is, deep down I know when it’s time to leave well enough alone and take that last long ride until the engine breaks down and even throwing money into it won’t save the beloved once reliable form of transportation.

Of course, how couldn’t I feel just run of the mill, three-letter “sad” sometimes. Yet I transform my sadness and anger in ways it’s difficult to understand unless you’ve a death sentence requires transformation into another more palatable emotion. Instead of running away from my disease I try to figure out how to strengthen my mind body connection. Still slightly uncertain of my feelings in these matters, I think I may just keep going and going until I cannot take much more or I become free forever. Philosophically, I believe we are not responsible for anyone but ourselves and that this very moment is the only moment that matters.

During the limited allotted time in our borrowed bodies, born to learn everything we can and until we must return the body to release our energy back to the universe where it originated. To think we are the same stuff the stars are made of and every atom was created at the Big Bang along with the galaxies and multi verses, the stars and novae, the planets and moons, humbles me with divine awe and I’m no longer afraid of anyone or anything. Especially not death.

Even with big, mind bending ideas as these, on a more pedestrian level, I have to say that having my parents both die within the past 5 years leaves me with a lonlely sense of not having a place to call “home” anymore. This is a most difficult predicament for someone who has tasted the sweetness of unrequited love. In retrospect I’m probably not alone in my contradictions and imperfections. At least I hope I’m not the only one with scars not afraid to show them to anyone with the courage enough to ask to see them. But just look closely and you’ll see my scars during a meal, my sleeves rolled up in anticipation of another digestible, soothing bowl of chicken soup.

I trip the light metastatic.

Ilene

Female. East coast transplant living in the Bay Area of California. Living with Stage IV breast cancer. Married to the coolest guy in the universe who occasionally suffers from serious depression. Love my stepsons, although I never thought I'd have that thankless job - ever! And my best friend Simon is also my cat. How I have survived with stage IV: treatments including chemo and surgery; palliative oncology; tenacity; a dark sense of humor; support groups; and my newly reinvented career as a vintage and antiques maven. Some days I miss the old me who led a well respected and well paid life as a business strategist in high tech. So much for that. I blog to simply share my experiences and my poetic approach with others who have cancer of any kind or with their care givers and those who love them. If one person at the very least finds a little commonality or a friend out in the ether tor a smile, a common nod about this experience, or even a link to assistance, then I have accomplished a small but extraordinarily meaningful goal. Go team.

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