I Asked

I’m afraid. Not that it’s a good sign for anyone but ascites isn’t a good sign for me – it’s my internal alarm system letting me know my cancer is badly misbehaving. My stress load had gone up and skyrocketed for reasons I don’t yet fully understand. My physical “self” sent a flair up to alert me that I had to make some dramatic changes. I knew. But what‘s holding me back and why had I allowed it to continue for so long? I’m not sure I need to define what the “it” is, but it is definitely the 11th hour and I could feel it. Change or die.

On and off I’d been in the hospital since thanksgiving 2018. Roughly the same time as last year once I’d returned from the Commonweal Cancer Help Program. Looking back in that period with the clarity of hindsight, my need to feel loved and approved of by my partner upon returning from the CHP, and by wanting to transform him and his depression, then going into year three. At Commonweal, in the loving-care of people who needed no invitations to a hug, I’d neglected myself again. How the hell did I do that this time and at what level of self exploration did I need to sink into to find the answer to that mystery is as unknown as a good Agatha Christie Poirot mystery.

I suppose to show him somehow he could do it too, he could find clarity within an almost unbearable situation and even find answers to fundamental human questions plaguing him all his life. I’m a firebrand of calmness. Oxymoronic yet I’m so excited to share everything. My excitement caused him to draw further away for the last time. I’d never really see him again after that. Perhaps he’d lost me and not vice versa. But we could have gone together to the program, and I know if he’d tried we’d be a vastly different couple than we are. But here I find myself: sick, alone, afraid, and as all cancer patients eventually find themselves unable to financially support myself.

In all I’d learned I’d still not fully understood that unless I helped myself to health, I’d not live to see my own gifts fully realized. (Protected gifts by the light around me and had been given as a mandate that I did not carry forward as I was gently blessed and nudged towards about three years ago – more in a later chapter on this story.)

I asked him a serious question around 2:00 am December 15th one day out of Stanford hospital and a first round of Taxol:
Are you in this with me?
Yes.
I mean changes have to be made – I must or my life hangs in the balance.
It always does (snidely) just nock it off please.
Craig I’m serious this is serious.
Whatever.
No it’s not “whatever,” it’s my life.
Oh, just shut up.
No I won’t shut up and you mustn’t speak to me that way.
I won’t speak to you then.
That’s not what I meant and you know it.
As you wish.
What?
As you wish.
I wish you were in this with me it could help you, too.
Just go to sleep.

The word whatever should be struck from every dictionary of human language as it evokes apathy and strips bare the spirits of its joy or at the least enjoyment. I’m not talking, “which sushi restaurant?” “Oh, whatever is on your way home honey.” That’s a perfectly acceptable answer. I hope my need to explain myself to the level of granularity of a tight shot in a David Lynch movie as my own self esteem begins to heal as so often his characters do not. There’s no great redemption in over explication, which simply takes a conversation and mangles a cogent discussion creating an active diversion and leaving one scratching their head over how they wound up in an unrecognizable blathering. Of course it’s easy then to say “whatever.”

Something had just snapped in me and I know if I throw myself into the world something will happen. I will die here in every possible way, but out there I can be saved. I believe that now more than ever. After I woke up yet again to an empty bed, even I can see the required ingredients to form the semblance of a relationship are probably unavailable.

It’s myself – not him – who’s keeping me in this carcinogenic hell where I live on Carrington circle (circle! The irony had escaped me until that moment). I can make a choice to carry on with optimizing my mind, body, and spirit for LIVING or I will die running around a circle of things that never change.

I began reading “Anti-Cancer.” Just having read a paragraph regarding ascites in mice and the case of a Mighty Mouse had pulled my brain out of a fog. It scared me to the point of nausea. I’m going to have to find love, patience, nutrition, a living situation, and give for the sake of my life. The gift was mine to throw away or get busy saving.

Now this is clear as anything had been before. It was time to reload my arsenal and wake up.

8 thoughts on “I Asked

  1. So many things I want to say right now, including some not very nice things for a certain person that isn’t you, but I’m not the driver in this situation. I’m the one who feebly, distantly, tries to hold the hand of the driver and say “let’s go where you need to go, I’m with you”…

    1. Mr. Lageose
      You know I appreciate your constant kindness from a few hours behind you in California. Just as I feel the support of my face to face friends shine through. Although we may never meet face to face I’ve learned a new kind of worldly love exists that is the light of the net. We sit in the light net (not the dark net, which too has benefits of a different sort) basking in the warmth of our personal stories and raising one another up when need be, cheering one another on, smacking down those who hurt the ones we are close to, and living the dream no one even had dreamt 30 years ago. Our relationships exist only by way of the good reaching over the top of the not so good to grab a hold of those hands and won’t let you go. How lucky to be living in our time when the weight of the world gets lifted from us as a call to action goes out regarding some devastating or celebratory event. It’s amazing to me even still, even just enough for breath to get expelled from our lungs to express gratitude and feel something uplifting and real and given generously, and without compunction by people who know us through our life’s stories scrolling by on a phone, an iPad, or a computer. How lucky can one be to know when their hand goes up those many somebodies who comfort us by simply saying, “hey I’m on your team and I give a shit about YOU!” makes all the difference in the world.
      Mwah!
      💕thank you, darlin’ and bless your heart (a wee bit of Texan for you as I watch my cat tump over my water bottle for no reason. He hates upright bottled water. Clearly his weaning involved bullying of sorts by the others in his litter!)

      1. Your comment is a gorgeous, wonderful and real affirmation of the best way to go about life. I’ve had this window open for a few hours as I contemplated what I could say that would be appropriate and right, but in the end I’ve decided that any attempt by me to counter with lengthy prose on my part would be superfluous. So I’ll keep it short with this: I believe that kindred souls can find each other through tenuous, murky means, but when we do so, we know it, we feel it, and we must honor such with honesty and respect and a tight hold on the tenuous. We weave our shared fibers into a quilt that warms us all, and we call it good…

        1. Hearty cheers and a *clink * as the glass lifted in my upheld hand rises to meet yours. A smile comes to my face as the warmth of the late afternoon fades – and my smile continues to shine, shine, shine after reading your response.

          I feel the earnestness of your words and sew another block into our growing quilt. And let us continue to find humor in our gabby quilting circle of human dignity even during life’s most audacious of situations…Cancer isn’t a gift – a metaphor I’m not fond of reading or hearing – but it does bring out the best in some of those it hurts the most. And it won’t mute my words until the hands that give legitimacy to my mind’s eye stop typing forever ♾.

          Your little nest of Amazon books really does give me hope that I too, may pad a room with boxes of unsold copies of legacy trade paperbacks and hope for a download or two of the Audible experience. God knows I do not ever want a musical version of Cancer, The Riverdance Off Off Far Off Broadway Experience to ever come to fruition. Maybe a Cirque du Soliel version to really drive home the pain and suffering portion of the show. However, perhaps someday the next generation of bloggers or whatever takes the place of blogging next, enjoy better days and fewer sleepless nights when the dreaded words, “I’m sorry but…” won’t reach many more ears. I hope that this pandemic has ceased by miraculously preventative measures and go by wayside along with the likes of AIDS and Polio and the lot of human suffering they’ve caused, too. And the words can deliver messages of hope, as I wish my words well whenever I send them off to fend for themselves along the digital dimensions.

          So here’s to your humor, your grounded style, to cats, to friends and to life. Lachiam.

  2. Your words come with great sadness. On the flip side they come with a new found realization on your part towards a positive action.
    I heard you choose life in this blog. I am always in your arsenal box and we have pulled off a few tricks in our day. So let’s get this new year started. Time for change

    I Love You

    1. I love you too and life is a mandate to continue to say I love you, the most important thing about being alive.

  3. You are wonderfully strong, friend, and a gifted writer. There are many mediocre bloggers out there, but you write with rare eloquence. Thank you for helping me to reflect on my own life.

    1. Blush. Thank you for helping me continue writing. It’s not the compliment so much as the knowledge that I’m not writing to hand in some vanity piece about how my selfies got here. It’s more to me to understand why I’m so compelled to share my inner most thoughts and why I’m not afraid to do it either.
      💕

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