Last week, i went about my days acting as though i didn’t have cancer. Typically, this is not something i can do. Every food i eat … every drink i ingest … every physiological symptom i notice … every social outing i plan … every person i touch … everything about everything requires me to take my cancer into consideration.
But what happens when so much is going on that cancer has no choice but to stop being so fucking narcissistic and step out of the spotlight for a little while?
Last week was rough – not cancer-wise, but LIFE-WISE.
- I watched one of my close friends bury his 29-year-old wife. It was the first funeral i ever cried at – and i’ve been to six, including my grandfather’s. Every single day since May 27, i have called, emailed, or texted Burundi in an effort to give him whatever compassion, support, or information he appears to need. We’ve made plans for me to visit him three times. He’s cancelled all three times. He grieves with me through text messages, and he calls me at 1:00am to process his thoughts … but he won’t let me (or anyone else, aside from his sister and mother-in-law) see him. For 10.5 days now, Burundi has been the first person i think of when i wake up and the last person before i fall asleep. One night i even woke up from a dead sleep with an idea of how to find out (Internet Creeper Style) where he lives so that i can just camp out on his doorstep until he’s ready to let me just give him a goddamn hug while he cries. I’m about two days and four text messages away from doing this.
- My mother confirmed that she, too, has breast cancer. Her biopsy was last Monday. WTF? I was tested for the BRCA gene; i don’t have it … so how are we going through the exact same type of cancer at the exact same time??? She tried procrastinating her treatment, saying she wasn’t scheduling a surgery because she needed to make sure she was available to fly out to Arizona when i get my expanders replaced with implants. I wasn’t having it. I used every argument i could think of to get my stubborn-ass-Aries mother to schedule a consultation with a surgeon. She goes to meet him on Friday.
- I had a falling out with a friend over something stupid. I hate text-based miscommunications.
- I dealt with another friend’s hypersensitivity and agitation as she transitions from a daily routine of uppers and downers used to address every single one of her moods and situations, to a newer routine of caffeine and caffeine only. I remember being a little girl and getting on my mom’s case about giving up cigarettes. Every so often, she would make a half-hearted attempt to stop smoking … and then she would turn into such an uber-bitch that we all wished she’d just go back to smoking, and at least one of us would end up telling her that. I’m not saying i *want* my friend to go back to her substance abuse habits … but it’s been a little rocky dealing with the aftershocks of her newfound harm reduction approach to life.
- I argued with my supervisor at work over some brand new rule that she and HR want to apply just to me and no one else. I spent the week sending long-winded emails that included quoting policy numbers, which resulted in me having to meet with them today. Seriously – do any of the people in charge at my job actually do real work, or do they just spend all of their days finding ways to fuck with people’s jobs and happiness levels?
- I worked my way through Week #3 of vertigo. Driving with vertigo. Sweeping and changing litter boxes with vertigo. Showering and dressing with vertigo. Playing racquetball with vertigo. Being dizzy and nauseous every day for three weeks straight up SUCKS. I went back to taking anti-nausea medication multiple times a day. Zofran stopped me from puking, but it came at a price: one of its common side effects is coughing. My cough is back. I had this goddamned cough for four straight months, had three weeks where i could talk, exercise, and sing without having coughing fits … and now it’s back. I think i’d rather be puking. (Enter inappropriate punch line about bulimia here.)
In case it is not abundantly clear, i am more than a little grouchy right now … and i am even more annoyed that i have to keep taking time-outs from dealing with life, in order to deal with my cancer. “Mom. Mom. MOM. MOM!!!!” It’s like my cancer can’t stand when my attention is directed at anything else. I ignored it all last week, and it’s retaliating in this Borderline Personality Disorder kind of a way. It acts out to get attention, and it wins – every time. This week, i have to go back to giving cancer almost all of my focus and energy, in order to address some of the symptoms and side effects that have suddenly appeared or resurfaced.
And you know what? That’s not helping with my grouchiness.