If you have been a reader here for a while, this piece may not be particularly different or surprising; but maybe somewhat so. In any case, I am not writing to panic you or make you think I am not going to come out on the other side of my multiple myeloma treatment with anything but my life intact. I expect a full remission. On the other hand, I try not to project too much about particulars at this time. I don’t expect to know a lot of things, and I am learning not to be too cocky any more. I was really cocky, thinking I’d never get cancer: that will never be me. It had no place in my vision for myself or my life force. Now I won’t show such hubris as to project ages and dates because I think they will not have the same meaning to me that they used to. Now I don’t get too far ahead of myself. This is a piece about just what it is. If if helps, think of it as fantasy.
If you are going to comment, please do not put forth your own beliefs about how I am doing or whether I am doing the right or wrong thing. That is not what this writing is about. You may send your love and light and wholeness, your chi, your prana, your aligned and lit-up chakra energy. I know you are sending images and colors and calm and I love it all. I am filled with love for you and from you. You may pray to Jesus for me, to God, to Buddha, to a tiny pea seed hiding in the darkness, waiting for spring. You may bless me and love me. But I do not want your judgment, for that belongs to you alone.
♥ ♥ ♥
I lie on the table, looking out the window into winter. I am weak. The room is warm, too warm, making me give in further to my weakness. The effort to shift my bones is too much so I don’t move. I sink. To smile at the male cardinal cracking seeds in his beak is too much. I feel Victorian and gauzy. I am the weight of a square of gauze. If I had to wear anything but a silk gown next to my skin, I would surely break into pieces.
I want to fade away, but I would fade into misery. Do they talk about the pain? The exhaustion of hauling around a shell, the ghost of my formerly strong body. When was the last time I could take a deep breath without it getting caught at the sides of my ribs? When didn’t I gasp for air to come in or to wince in slight pain when it went out?
Now I know that lo these 9 months (and then some!) I was never being dramatic. I never had a low pain threshold. Au contraire. I wish I had listened with a non-judgmental ear to that pain. I never thought of myself as stoic, I thought I was whining. I thought my pain was a bore to those around me. I popped ibuprofen like it was candy. Ibuprofen and ice, sometimes dancing or vigorous hiking would give relief. So it must not have been that bad.
I birthed two babies, hard labors, at home. Especially my first birth was long and hard—21 hours of active labor on top of 2 days of early labor and I started out with a flu which had left me sleep-deprived and dehydrated. Baby had the cord wrapped around her body 4 times and was born with a compound presentation (her tiny perfect arm wedged up against her head). I did that without pain medication. Still I’ve thought of myself as weak in the face of pain.
Yet here I am and here I have lived for over 9 months, painful fractures throughout my bones.
Time is not time. Time is weariness is pain is too much. Time has to end now. Time is too much for me to bear. How can I stay alive through this? What if I get worse tomorrow? Surely I don’t have the reserves of strength this will take. Surely I need a pillow to be carried on, a sedan chair, does no one see this? Why aren’t the hospitals equipped with silken pillows and nursemaids who will bathe and oil and dress me. They have to carry my arms, move my fingers for me, lift water to my mouth. I am too weak to manage my own body. I am fading but no one sees.