How do you find equanimity with cancer?
It seems impossible. I’m not looking at it as if I’m in “warrior mode”. I think that fantasy was dreamed up by someone trying to get a cancer patient to endure impossible treatment for imperceptible gains. I’d like to find out, though, if I have the strength in me to do this. Strength and courage is what this is about — not war. I’m not fighting a war with some crazy cells in my body. I’m dealing with it. I’m talking to them. I’m getting up every day and trying to work to support myself. I’m going to have procedures I never thought I’d have to have. That takes courage. Every time I approach a medical building, I feel it in the pit of my stomach.
There’s some torture here for you, if you can stand it. And maybe at the end of it, you’ll feel better and you’ll be cancer-free. And hopefully you won’t get this damned virus — which could surely take you out prematurely — because some asshole thinks his freedom to not wear a damned mask is more important than your right to live.
I’m really trying to hold it together. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve said the Serenity Prayer, the Our Father, the Hail Mary, envisioning Christ’s face as it exists in my mind, envisioning the Dalai Lama making me laugh and me making him laugh. In fact, the HH The Dalai Lama was with me in the MRI machine today. Joking and smiling with those crinkled eyes and holding my gaze. A voice in my head said, “He is God’s messenger for this generation.” Think what you will. Think that I’m mad.
Akira comes to me, too. Akira is my spirit guide, and he watches over me. He nudges me in the right direction when he needs to, like he did at the end of January by leaning his face down to mine and growling, “Get Up!” The next day, I got up and fought my depression and got moving.
One thing cancer makes you is bone tired, whether you’ve started treatment or not. It’s hard to battle insurance, keep up with appointments, keep up with my job, keep up with life in general. If it weren’t for my son and all of his help, and the help from friends, I wouldn’t get out of bed. This. This right here is the hardest thing I’ve gone through since I lost my child.
Yesterday my mind wasn’t even keeping up because I was so tired. I couldn’t multitask AT ALL. While playing a game, I couldn’t find my words or organize my thoughts. When the game ended, I crawled back in bed. Sometimes I feel like my brain hurts from trying to get through the day. This is an aggressive, grade 3 tumor growing in me. And it’s sending friends out to colonize other areas. Giving up my breasts would be no big deal for me, and I told the doctors as much. But it would buy me nothing. Things have already been set in motion. So can we start the chemo, please, I asked. Not yet. Not until the insurance gods says we can determine how far this might have gone.
This holding pattern is killing me. Quite literally.
But tomorrow, I’ll get up. I’ll make coffee. I’ll catch a bit of the morning news between feeding all the critters. I’ll hope that tomorrow is a day when good things happen. My dog doesn’t roll in poo. My doctor gets the scan approved. My son makes us a delicious breakfast. I get that big document done. I get through the day without pain. And that someday I’ll lace up my running shoes and do the next 5K, with no cancer.