Two TIGF!!! thumbs up. Why? Well, it all started early in the morning....
I couldn't sleep much. My back and neck were wound up tighter than a suspension bridge. But, I had breakfast with a friend to take my mind off of things. She even paid for mine. How cool is that? I tried hanging out at the bookstore to kill time. I couldn't concentrate. The staff were getting nervous that my long stare was going to burn holes through the magazine rack. I picked up the latest Vintage Guitar magazine and hit the road. I still had time to kill.
Ending up at a favorite vinyl haunt, I perused the used CD section, wanting to listen in my truck rather than wait to get home and dust the needle off. I bought an Iron and Wine CD The Creek Drank the Cradle for a good price and listened to the track "Southern Anthem" about six times in a row. I still needed to kill time. My hands were trembling a bit now.
There had to be somewhere that I could hang out without spending money. It didn't help, throwing money away on so-called comfort items. The newish public library seemed like a good place to hideout for a bit. I got there and still couldn't concentrate well enough to distract myself with reading. My bowels were about to hit the tarmack. Why didn't anybody tell me that the big city's public library restrooms are bath houses for transients and freaks? I get in there and am greeted by a bunch of men giving themselves the sorriest of sponge baths with shredding paper towels. One toilet stall with a dogeared GQ, all the good pages with easy access, and cum on the toilet seat, I couldn't deliver my "shipment" to the C.H.U.D.. The time was coming. I had to move.
Strange air moves in and out of your lungs when your mind tries to fight the urge to run. It's like a chemical taints everything and you can taste blood. I thought of the time when I was going through my last cycle of chemotherapy, my white blood cell count was always at dangerous levels. I was having severe anxiety problems. Seeing a movie could turn into a horrifying experience where I could feel everyone's germs. Absolutely crippling fright would penetrate my mind, my heart rate would skyrocket, and my digestion, well, let's not get into that. All I could think about was how soon I could get out of there, wash my face and hands, and get home to take my temperature. About the air, I could feel it again. I couldn't go through that again. No more of that.
No more of feeling like I was slowly dying and losing control. No more wondering how I was going to manage things if I had to go on the more extreme treatment regiment. No more fear of the alien growing inside me. No more. I just couldn't anymore.
Sure, I told people I'd fight again. Yeah, I lied to myself as well. But driving up to the top of the hill had me thinking of ways out. I thought I had that sort of thing under my thumb. No, I'd fight, but if I died I would then make sure that this went to that person and these things were given out to those people. What would I write to whom? How would I divide up my life insurance without people feeling left out? I am insured well. I haven't written a living will yet, so I'd use the hospital's patient services to help me out there as well as visit my appointed social worker. Why didn't any of my family remember this time to make sure I wasn't alone? I guess I could have done a better job of asking. Why am I thinking like this? I still haven't had my labs drawn yet.
The receptionist that I've counted on for support wasn't in today. I wanted to show off my hair and get some comforting words. My eyes are really good at melting her wedding band away. It's not my fault that my middle name is David. "Why are all the good ones taken?" is such a cop out. That shit stopped when I realized that my pathetic inner murmurs were gaining weight. Another co-pay, out $35 instead of $25 because my oncologists are specialists. Why can't that pay for the labs as well? I'd be screwed unbelievably without my medical insurance, but these co-pays, deductibles, and fees add up. The nurse calls me in for labs.
My portacath works great, the phlebologist tells me. I give her my story and she tells me that she hopes for the best. I wonder if she'll be my last person to access my port or if I'm open for business again. My weight was good and my blood pressure was 112 over 66, no fever. How can a person be dying with these stats? The exam room had two cranberry juices and a cup of ice. The nurse remembered what I liked. Did she know something I didn't? Was this to help me take the bad news, or somehow a celebration? What would the faces of my oncologists tell me? I'm only seeing the one? Why? Is that a bad thing? I'm glad I brought my guitar mag with me. The nurse said my doctor would be right in.
She wears her doctor's face well. I couldn't get a preemptive read on the situation. Her clipboard was buried into her chest, like I would be able to spy a happy or sad face on the paper. Naw, they usually say something unbelievabley untactful the moment the open the door when it's bad news, something like, "Here are your options", or, "So, the good news is that we think we can try something different this time." No, none of that. I got this, "We are re-classifying you as 'C.R.'" Then her composure slipped and a big grin came across her face as she explained, "You are in complete recovery." Thank you medical science. Thank you God. Thank you, the two genius women who put their hands down my pants so many times and made sure that the poison cured me instead of killed me. I could never figure out why their hands went down my pants so many times. The cancer was in my neck and chest. I guess my co-pay wasn't enough.
In case you didn't glean from my stylistic account of things, I am now in remission from my Hodgkin's stage IIBX nodular sclerosing lymphoma. w00t! The area of concern shrunk considerably since it was last doing scary things. The other lymphnodes went down as well. It was really nice to see my brain and heart doing all the heavy metabolising again and not my whole neck and chest cavity hosting the hungry-hungry cancer hippos. Take mine and Burt Renyold's advice: you have not found a new way of losing weight--you are dying. Go see a doctor. That is where the battle is won--early detection.
What I didn't mention was the flip out I had in the exam room when my doctor told me the good news. I jumped up and down, pumping my fists, and yelled "Yes! Freaking YES!!!" I felt like Tom Cruise on Oprah. My doctor told me that she did about the same thing when she looked at the scans. They really did agonize over me. I feel more than lucky. I feel blessed.
I go in on Tuesday for surgery. I get to have my port removed. I'm going to bring a pickle jar and have the surgeons put it in there for me. Hell, I paid good money for that thing and it's been a part of me for over a year now. I'll need your help in naming him/her.
Anyways, it's been a long year+ for me. I'm happy it is now over for the most part. I guess I was right about these years of my life coming to define me. I am the victor.
4 years ago