Friday, April 13, 2012

100%: The Waiting is the Hardest Part

Actually, the chemo is the hardest part.

Plus, if I know my body, my luck, if there's more bad that's gonna happen, I won't have to wait for it too long.

Until then I am done and planning to not have cancer again any time soon.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

90%: Eating Junk and Getting Drunk

I am drinking again and it is glorious.

A little dangerous, really, since I have a thirst to begin with and now I am making up for lost time. Everyone is very supportive of me stuffing my face with whatever I come across since 137 is not enough pounds for me to be. But is it also cool if I just get wasted every day for the next month?

Plenty of calories in beer.

Really, I am very conflicted and it's going to be a weird transition. First off the degree to which I missed drinking is a clear sign of a problem. It can't be healthy. Plus every time I've opened a beer in the last week (I had at least one Friday through Monday) I've thought "Is this a bad call? I still have cancer, maybe." I have weird, new guilt about things I used to do without much thought.

I mean what is the relationship between alcohol and my cancer? Alcohol definitely made me more symptomatic in the beginning -- made me feel worse. It seemed like alcohol + cancer was bad.

It all just goes back to not knowing where this cancer came from. If I go back to all the same old habits, eating junk and getting drunk, exercising practically never, will I just get cancer again? Did anything that I did or didn't do even have anything to do with my getting cancer in the first place? No one really knows.

It's one of those "if you don't change your direction, you will end up where you're headed" things. I don't want to get more cancer, if it's at all avoidable. I would like to work on healthier habits. But I don't want to feel anxious and guilty every time I indulge.

I'm not cool with living in fear that the cancer's coming back or believing deep down that getting cancer is somehow all my fault.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

80%: The Nod

One time I was at chemo, I think just before it started turning to all kinds of shit, and I remember there was this other guy there getting started around the same time I was. None of my meds had come in from the pharmacy, so I was sneaking off to the bathroom to pee before the act became a dance with my -- what the fuck do you call those? -- stupid wheelie thing that is connected to all the tubes and machinery that I am plugged into.

Maybe I have the chrono wrong. Maybe I was on my way to puke. I'm already trying to blur out that whole phase of my life and apparently I am having some success.

Anyway, so I'm walking by this guy. He was like Skyping with someone in French on his laptop or something. Like how I was often watching HBO on my iPad or getting work done with it or reading on my Kindle or watching X-Files on the TV/DVD combo provided or some other awesome high tech convenience that makes chemo sound like riding on a train or sitting at a cafe.

It's not like in 50/50 where you sit next to two awesome old dudes who give you pot cookies. Not in my experience anyway. Not at MGH. People mostly go with loved ones and sometimes you wind up chatting with the people around you, but it's fleeting and more Tyler Durdenesque. Single serving friends, even the Mona Lisa is falling apart.

But this guy looked up and gave me a curt nod, which I returned.

That was when I realized I was a part of something now, a community of people with this absurd bond. It's hard to put into words, but it fits nicely into nods. The nod says something like "Yup, this sucks. Don't go dying or anything." And you don't have a clue who that guy is, but you feel the exact same way about him.

You meet people who had your cancer that you would otherwise have nothing in common with, no reason to think of them as more than an acquaintance or co-worker. But there it is, the cancer connection, running on a deeper level than you can process, almost unwanted.

At some point, maybe soon, if I'm lucky, the phrase "cancer survivor" will apply to me, will be a legitimate way I can describe myself.