"Lust…is cool. Yeah, it's really cool…but love and nurturing — are better." — Dr. Simmons (the onc)
An odd preface, I know. It's a lovely late summer day, breezy as usual, with birds chirping and Coast Guard helicopters punctuating children's screams. This neighborhood is all kids! The Hubby's diving in Monterey today and Pt. Lobos tomorrow with his dive buddy RM (stands for Running Man), our previous next door neighbor. I used to be fairly good friends with RM's girlfriend (partner or whatever but "not wife") until about three months ago when I'd had enough of her various and sundry manipulations and withdrew from almost all activity connected with her. Alas, I have to be civil as her significant other is Hubby's friend and dive partner and relations must be maintained. I begged off this trip and Hub knows better than to try to defend her. He's already been in trouble for succumbing to her guiles—I don't think he wants to go another round with me on this. I remind him that one of the rules I was told when this cancer thing struck was, when you have a terminal illness, you no longer have to put up with any shit—you don't have to do all those horrid, obligatory things, make nice with toxic people, etc. So I'm courteously distant. She's probably charming him to death with her good looks and endless babble. She's like a character in a novel, maybe House of Mirth? Same issues, to be sure. Lucky for her, RM is sufficiently stumped to tolerate her last three years of self-chosen unemployment. Anyway, that's another post.
It's not often I have the time to sit in the backyard and do what terminally ill people are wont to do, which is reflect on their lives. (Speaking for myself, I guess, as perhaps that's not universally true.) All sorts of crazy memories wash in at the strangest moments—things which undoubtedly fill journals packed in the garage somewhere. I should find those and read them before I pass. It was a short period of my life though, high school and college, and I don't mention too many family events. I took family life very much for granted and wasn't too observant or interested.
It's sometimes difficult to write about cancer. There's a part of me that wants to be personal and emotional and there's the part prevented by a public audience from speaking with too much honesty. I really don't talk about my illness much anymore. It stresses people out, makes their eyes glaze over. I don't discuss the really strange self-care strategies I've resorted to because of this illness. The Hubby made a hilarious cartoon about how I have a bathroom emergency whenever we're in public. But really, it would suck if I were somewhere inconvenient, like the countryside or touring an ancient ruin in a foreign/third-world country. Then reality hits and I recall how lucky I am that I still have a modicum of control over those systems. Someone I know does not and I could be headed there soon.
I'm not being pessimistic. If anything I'm complacent, due to the extended good health Tarceva has allowed me. I need to wake up, realize I'm on borrowed time, and act like it. People make plans all around me, forgetting that I may need treatment in a week or a month, that I may not be well at Thanksgiving or Christmas. They forget I can't wander around all day, without rest and shelter from exposure. The hardest thing is trying to understand what it's like to have numbered days. I couldn't imagine death or fear or incapacity and had lost grip of following my dreams until my diagnosis. So I can't expect anyone, not even my husband, to understand what it's like. There's a deep sorrow that can't be explained. For me it's a sorrow for all the things I won't get to do, and all the things I don't have the energy to do now. There's a clarity, true—the kind I had a bit of when I was very young—the kind that values hedonism and encourages leaps of faith, that revels in the moment, that thrives without material indulgence. That sort of clarity requires energy and impulsiveness, neither of which I have, so yeah, it's frustrating. I no longer lament the missteps of youth which prevented me from being a financial success in mid-life. On the contrary I'm thrilled to have engaged in so many amazing adventures, even if they're amazing only in my own mind 😉 I wish I'd kept it up and not succumbed to the mediocrity that chasing money reduces one to.
As always, I'm not ready to go. Neither is anyone I know battling this wicked thing. Sadness at loose ends and unfulfilled hopes. I guess I'm not much of the type of person that rallies for a cure and all that. I wish I were, and maybe I would be if I weren't the ill one. My rallying is with the universe, to show us the way to healing and a better life, and to a cure as soon as possible. So get with it, Universe.