2016-12-20

It's Living, Not Dying

I have been relatively quiet for the last few weeks as far as my on line presence.  Not silent mind you, but comparatively quiet.  The reason for this is I have felt like a sun-baked pile of shit.  The new chemo protocol that I have been on for the last couple of months has some side effects that are rather debilitating.  Mostly what is called distal neuropothy.

Do a Google search if you want to know more, but the bottom line is that one loses tactile sensation in the hands and feet and it feels like there are ants crawling just under the skin whose feet are needles.  And that goes on 24/7.  In my case, my legs have become rather weak which makes balance a bit of a chore.  I have to think before I move.  Hell, I often don't think before I speak, so thinking before I move is a real challenge.  (That is a joke, in case you did not catch on .. )

Thus, answering the phone, responding to emails or text messages has taken a back seat to my being a frigging wimp about this stuff.  Oh well, I can handle what I can handle, and I will not apologize for being a wimp...

Other than to inform those who hear from me more frequently than they have recently of my excuse, this post is also to re-affirm a couple of things, as follows:

Cancer is a bitch, there is no question.  Getting cancer is a serious attitude adjustment.  I suspect having cancer cured must be pretty cool too.  I don't know, that is not likely in some cases like mine.  Regardless, cancer is a part of life.  That means a part of living....not just a part of dying.  When I am beat up, miserable and hurting like a son-of-a-bitch, it feels like I am dying, but I am not.  I am living.  And of those times in between, when the side-effects are diminished and I can function reasonable well, I am certainly living.  I have fun.  I do shit I should not do according to my Dr. and all those well wishing folk who offer up advice.  That is living for me.  Pushing the boundaries a bit is what makes living fun and worthwhile to me.  So that is what I do.

We have been taught to respond to the news that someone has cancer a certain way.  I don't think what we have been taught is very helpful.  People who have cancer are not dying, they are living.  Not all of them sit around thinking about dying all the time.  Yeah, it does rest heavy in the back of the mind.  There is this little black marble back there that sends out a reminder now and again...it says:  "You ain't gonna beat this you know....one of these days your going to finish up, and it won't be nearly as long from now as you keep telling yourself".

And that little voice is right.  That is pragmatic realism reaching out.  But pragmatic realism is only good if it does one some good.  So one has to respond to that little black marble appropriately at the appropriate time.  Sometimes the appropriate response is a resounding 'fuck you'.  Sometimes it is a sort of weary 'yeah...yeah....yeah... whatever, I am busy right now'.  Other times one is best to listen and figure out a way to be at peace with that knowledge.

Sometimes, the best response is to sit down and just talk it out.  Sort of like what I am doing here.  It is easier here in the written form in some ways.  I don't have to take up someones time by having them sit and listen to me seemingly bitch about my condition.  They can choose to take the time to read this or not.  They don't have to sit and wonder what it is that I need or want to hear, or what might be appropriate for them to say.  I hate putting folks in that situation.  Yet I can't just turn it off either.  I actually need to talk it out in order to understand where I am, what I have become.

I have tried not to talk about it, really, I have.  Who wants to hear this shit anyway.  It is a downer.  But it is a part of my life now, a big part.  In time, in effort, in impact on my family and friends.  I try to focus on my little projects at the farm, or ranting about politics on FB, or listening to the stories others tell.  Yet I find myself falling back into the same old trap of telling about the treatment, or the disease itself or something related.

So now and again, I just give up and let it flow.  Talk about it.  One has to I think, at least someone like me does.  I have found that I background conceptualize a lot of things, and that those things don't become real until I verbalize (or write) them.  So that is my excuse.  That is why I write shit like this.

We really do need to find a different way to think about cancer though.  A way to laugh about it, and to remove the stigma of death from it.  There is a big gulf between living with cancer and dying of it.  Just like there is a big gulf between driving a car and getting into a fatal car crash. To drive is not to crash and die.  And even if it ends that way, there was all that driving before the crash.  All those miles of sights to see, hearing the sing of the tires, the engine grinding out power at our demand.  That is living.  The crash does not matter.  Living with cancer is just driving the car knowing that the crash is coming.  Death has a name for those of us with diseases like this.  That is the only difference really.  For most folks, death does not have a name or it is assumed to be called 'old age'.  Of course, as much as I drive, maybe the name will surprise me one of these days... lol.

I guess that is enough.  I am talked out.  I have written things that I probably have written before.  I have written things I have said before, probably numerous times.  I just needed to talk it out again...

Now. I suppose I should quit yammering on and go do what I am talking about... I have stuff to do.  I guess that means I am living... :-)