I’m Finally Vaccinated, Let’s Go Out Today!

You’re diagnosed with a terminal illness and you must ask yourself the following question: what would you do differently in your life or change about your life so If any week might be your last you’d be happy with it or at the very least okay with that week?

I asked my husband this very question. To which he reacted with a sense of injustice. “That’s not a fair question.”

I don’t agree. No, every day isn’t a great day…that much is true.

Here’s a snippet of an argument:

Unappreciative ass

Harsh realities too bad

I’m having a lot of trouble with this, hon, can’t we just talk?

You’re in no position to just talk. You’re not supporting us.

He needs to be on stronger depression medications just to simply be around me

I’m getting worse to be around

But I am great to be away from yet he wouldn’t be with me if I weren’t sick.

He can’t stand to be around me, lately.

And has no idea why I’m even with him.

But…We get along. Seriously.

Foundations

However, built upon the foundation of modern western culture insure to that. Due to no fault of our own all of us were born into a time of rampant materialism. Noting we buy delivers on its promise of satisfaction. There’s the cliché small print that spells out a guarantee of no satisfaction. What it does guarantee: you’ll never see any money back should anything go awry. A broken warranty means simply using the product breaks the rules.

I’m broken. He cannot return me to a store, although I suppose he could leave me. But what a mess. And I still take care it so much for him, he cries occasionally: what will I do without you! Meaning -my cooking, my housekeeping, my all embracing hugs, my laundry prowess.

A manufacturer’s guarantee is akin to cancer in some ways. By living in our bodies with the environment at a time of great threat to its mere existence, we are swimming in chemicals and stress and we’ve not evolved to handle it nor should we.Read this article from Commonweal regarding reduction of chemicals in our environment.

Susceptible to Infections

The point I’m trying to get across is that by merely living in a physical body we are very highly susceptible to illness and specifically cancer. The warranty on our physical body while living in the post industrial, sedentary, sugar infused world with melting ice caps and chemicals in our air, water, and food there’s no guarantee of any kind.

With that in mind, ask yourself what would you do differently if anything given your own personal special circumstances even if you’re not hiding “a cancer” if you were to be diagnosed with a terminal illness? By the way, I deplore that phrase – the article in front of cancer removes it from our body’s boundaries giving it a life of sorts.

But hey, don’t worry.
Be happy. The year now 2021 – and now we’ve come so far as to have lived through a pandemic that’s still the bane of many an MBC enduerer’s existence (not to leave out anyone who’s also got a terminal illness but we tend to swim with our own kind when we are diagnosed for the shorthand we develop for quick understanding like chemo brain, and well, I forget the rest but you get my point).

Caught in a trap…suspicious minds

Trapped at home, through no fault of our own, due to our battered immune systems we wait out our turns for a vaccine. A shot or two developed so quickly it makes one think about our diseases. What the hell is taking so long to develop drugs to keep us chronic and alive a la AIDS, rather than becoming terminally ill upon diagnosis. Kept further apart from humanity again because of an incurable, rather painful disease.

As March roars for its wintery last puffs of snow coming this week, I recover from my recent covid19 vaccine. In hindsight I hope my appreciation for the life that cancer helped me find enough foresight to live in this moment in a way that’s just right for me. And I got the vaccine knowing it could have demanding physical repercussions.

I dodged that bullet. I’m fact having a break from my daily Verzenio – and my red blood cells began repopulating my bloodstream giving me back some of my energy. But I can’t overdo it. My tummy began filling up with ascites (see a few posts in this blog by searching up Ascites in the search tool right here.)

Stuck in the middle with you

So this will suck again. My pants are tight, I’m feeling uncomfortable and my feet are swelling. If you have ever been blown up like a waterbed, the draining process is exactly like it. But of course I’ll keep you posted – PET Scan next week – oh joy, head to toe and the anxiety It will bring over potential brain Mets.

Isn’t that what we all worry about when we get a head to toe scan? Those horrible metastases that could possibly go to our brains? The ones that we fear the most? Although medical science has come quite far and the cyber knife as well as other ablative mechanisms take care of them quite well. In fact better than mets that travel to most of the other organs are bodies. So nothing to worry about.

Right?

Layers of Acceptance

losing our lives and the cost of indifferent behavior leadership on the individual

How do you feel these days? Anxious? Nervous? Depressed? Incarcerated? On house arrest? Disrespected? Cheated? Angry? Depleted ? Bewildered? Mistreated?

Do you feel a complete lack of deference to the administration in power in the United States?

Deference (also called submission or passivity) is the condition of submitting to the espoused, legitimate influence of one’s superior or superiors. Deference implies a yielding or submitting to the judgment of a recognized superior, out of respect or reverence.

Wikipedia.com

Lately the windows seem like walls. The walls seem like prison bars. The front door like a vault passage with an unrepentant encryption lock. From the last fateful weeks of February 2020, I’ve been in lockdown and need to climb up Mount Kilimanjaro past the cloud layer, light headed from a lack of oxygen(kind of like if wearing a mask and breathing in my own CO2) to gain another level of acceptance. The insight into what life truly could look like when someone says, “well, could be worse.” I think the current situation with COVID19 maybe the “worse” case referenced in that vague statement of what could happen. And it’s so frustrating. We had several opportunities to stop the spread.

Now, consider this: the CDC is saying the situation will probably last until early 2022.

I feel cheated of my time remaining on this conscious plane in this terminally-ill body. There’s a mockery of global leadership just idling by in the Oval Office. He and his cronies couldn’t care less about people’s lives and what their lack of planning has done to our country. If you watched the second and final presidential debate for the 2020 election. You listened and heard the leader, of what I’ll now call our post democratic society, lie. And lie and lie and lie without putting forward answers to simple and valid questions that effect me and everyone else with a terminal illness.

In cheating their way into what is considered the singly most powerful position in global leadership they cheated us from our precious time with people we love. Cheated us from traveling to visit one another.

Thanksgiving cannot take place over a zoom call. The lifesaving hugs so integral to healing by releasing endorphins into our bloodstreams cannot become real — I had a virtual dance party during a Living Beyond Breast Cancer (LBBC.org) that at first provided some fun. But it’s hard to dance to the beat if there’s an elephant in the room stepping on my feet.

At least with – all the universes willingness – Biden in the Oval Office and Senator Kamala Harris up the hallway as Vice President, I won’t have the stress that I’ll lose my health insurance and my stage IV cancer will be treated as a preexisting condition.

Being forced into retirement at 49 and on disability for the rest of my life, their decisions significantly effect me and others in my situation. Some already have to a pretty large degree. Now we have less access to our physicians. The life sparing clinical trials have all but slowed to a halt because people who are needed to participate cannot travel – this past four year period of time will have lasting impact on so many people. The worst of that impact is our very mortality. It scares me to think the entire metastatic cancer population will be completely wiped out for reasons I cannot reconcile in my heart.

So I think having a metaphysical and mystical experience will help to decrease my anger and anxiety. There was enough to reconcile before this tragic era. Now the tragedy will take decades to right itself if it ever even does. There’s no new normal. We will all be feeling a shift in our lives from now and through the end of days. Talk about the butterfly effect – this is more aligned with a swarm of locusts effect.

So please vote. Please peacefully protest should some outrageous stunt a la Pizzagate and the disintegration of the dream of having the first woman president ripped to shreds. Let’s not forget that when Sen. Harris debated Mike Pence it was a historical event worth celebrating.

Instead a fly that for over six minutes flew around the white head of an ill-elected Vice President became the news story of the day. Proving we are in a time of lies and the bullshit that took our lives and left us to die like carrion on the side of a lonely road. But no one will be by to pick up the bodies. The vultures are already picking at our bones.

Irreverent hospital signage. No shit, that’s how I wash my hands? Thanks Stanford! A university education can only go so far

With that I’ll leave you with a few recommendations of cancer stuff. Listening instead of talking, opening up rather than shutting out brave voices and kinder hearts unafraid to discuss things as they are. Reminding me to live in the moment rather than putting my anger into the world. There’s enough of that going around these days and I’d rather hear some people I have come to know and care about personally. Listen and watch these wonderfully brave people – they’ve gone yards ahead of the written words you read here and it helps me to grapple when the silence is deafening:

Our MBC Life one podcast totally focused on metastatic breast cancer, thank you ladies. Let’s support them as they get their feet under them.

Thanks, Cancer! Leanne and Mimi discuss politics and cancer in their latest podcast

https://www.youtube.com/c/BrainCancerDiaries Rudy is absolutely honest and irreverent and has inoperable brain cancer

The uncanny abyss: parallels of Covid19 and metastatic breast cancer

Hey, does anyone feel even busier than they normally do although we’re all supposedly so bored? I’m getting personally stir crazy. Marked by a masked run to my local craft shop to buy some wood flourishes for a cabinet I’m refurbishing and pens to continue with my #Zentangle meditative drawing practice.

On a more serious note: Unfortunately theres uncanny parallels between Covid19 and having metastatic cancer. The need for self-quarantine & social distancing leads to feeling isolated and alone, and comes with the both relatively uncharted territories.

Tangential to covid19 are the numbers of deaths associated with cancer. These most likely will not be counted in the sum total dead as a result of Covid19. Due to necessary precautions for immune suppressed populations such as my own – we will begin to see a long chain of deaths because clinical trials are postponed indefinitely and we have less access to healthcare and therapy that can only take place in the hospital. Furthermore, people who need to get checked when a mammogram isn’t considered a required procedure during this time, will have far reaching effects on our mortality – and I’m only speaking for breast cancer but do not ignore other cancer diagnostic exams.

Early detection can save lives. A few days ago the UK NHS stated that as many as 35,000 women will die as a result in the reduction of tests for breast cancer detection as well as the decline of in hospital medical oncology treatments over the course of the last four months.

Estimates haven’t gotten around to statistical analysis here in the US yet; they’ll be higher no doubt. I also cannot think the numbers will matter much, as the ostrich approach feels more comfortable than looking at people who are “anti maskers” and those who refuse to keep a safe distance or just stay put so we can all get back to life. But things do need to change, including a shift in our compassion and empathy as a society. Fighting seems to have replaced intelligent discourse and peaceful demonstrations shushed away by media covering the uglier, more newsworthy side of free speech.

However, not wearing a mask isn’t taking away anyone’s human rights but it does take the humanity out of the way we all live as a supposedly free country. I feel imprisoned due to my diagnosis and subsequent treatments, and it sucks.

I can’t speak for you, but the longer this goes on the less freedoms I have. We spiked to record numbers in Nevada and Placer counties, where I reside in California, this week. These new numbers of them diagnosed and the dead are the highest we’ve experienced and will only increase with the number of people who get tested.

Yet we aren’t testing nearly enough people. Must we continue through the next flu season and testing our country’s mettle even further as we sink deeper into this financial and mortality abyss? As a Stanford physician eloquently stated in a “Five Questions” interview on June 19th, “Wearing a mask doesn’t mean that you are weak or afraid or a coward. It’s a way to protect the vulnerable around you. It’s our duty to keep each other healthy.”

Going anywhere is a huge risk for me and others with immune suppressed systems. Stir crazy? Sure. Lonely. Very. But I’m more afraid that my five and a half years with metastatic breast cancer and all I and others like me have suffered to remain alive can be for nought if we don’t contain this virus with expeditious emphatic personal commitments to our neighbors.

#fuckcancer and #fuckcovud19