photo by Debra and Dave Vanderlaan
The weather forecast called for rain. I love rainy Sundays. Especially when I'm in pain. Instead, its sunny. So sunny that I found it difficult to stay in bed past noon. So I'm on the deck. Sipping perfectly brewed coffee. Surrounded by annual foliage that refuses to die.
This is day seven. Seven days since my surgery. Seven days of not showering. Seven days sporting drains that ooze a substance that looks more like piss yellow than blood red. That's a good thing. It means I'm healing.
If you haven't guessed, I'm miserable. I'm tired of being in pain. I'm tired of talking about my pain. I'm tired of wincing, of gasping, of moaning.
If this revision surgery works, and my breasts are perky and even, it will all be worth it. If it doesn't work, I don't know how low I'll go (physically and mentally) and that scares me.
When I reach low, cynical, woe-is-me levels like this, I like to make lists.
CANCER HAS EFFECTED ME IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS
(one for each of my seven, miserable day)
1. I used to like to watch porn at 4:00 on Sundays. I realize how absurd that sounds but it was fun. I wasn't alone watching porn at 4:00 on Sundays. My husband was with me. Typically we'd have a martini or two and laugh about how we should write slapstick porn - a mix between Debbie does Dallas and The Three Stooges. Call it, Debbie does Curly, Larry and saves Moe for last.
Since my cancer diagnosis, porn no longer interests me. I look forward to the day when I get my sexy back.
2. I used to be overly focused on a brown, age spot at the tip of my otherwise adorable nose. It started off looking round and now it's the shape of Texas. Texas, the adopted home of George W. Bush. Oh how I loath George W. Bush. Imagine reliving the catastrophes of the Bush administration every time you look in the mirror - the tragedy of the Iraq war, the shame of Guantanamo, the erosion of civil liberties, the damage done to the American economy... it's maddening!
Since my cancer diagnosis, I don't give a rats ass about the brown spot on my nose, or brown spots anywhere on my body, or spots in general or, for that matter, the color brown. I still loath George W. Bush.
3. I used to get extremely irritated by Saturday afternoon leaf blowing. I'd pledge to lead a campaign to ban them all together. And then lose steam mid-way through my second glass of wine.
Since my cancer diagnosis, I no longer give a flying fuck about the noise pollution caused by leaf-blowers. Go ahead, enjoy your back-pack, carcinogenic causing, gas operated blower. You're drowning out the sound of my moans.
4. I used to be leery of wearing flip-flops. Convinced everyone was focused on my crooked monkey toes.
Since my cancer diagnosis, I'm oddly proud of my monkey toes. They curl inward as if they're grasping on to something. Grasping onto life. Grasping onto a day worth living.
5. I used to wonder what I would die from. Now I can say, with a good amount of certainty, that it will be cancer.
Since my cancer diagnosis I know I am brave. I know I have a will to live. I know I will not give up. I will apply for clinical trials. I will seek alternative methods and incorporate traditional medicine with mind, body, healing.
6. I used to worry that my husband would leave me. That I'd grow too old for him, or too droopy, or worse, dowdy.
I am the queen of all cancer patients. I am cared for better than, a male, first in line to the throne, premature infant. Mark has followed me to every doctors appointment, every test, every treatment, every surgery. He waits in the hospital while I'm under anesthesia because I'm scared to death I'll die if he leaves the building. He wears my healing beads during my surgery's. When we're home, he lifts me, dresses me, washes my hair, brushes my hair, strips my drains, cooks for me, pours my wine, fluffs my pillows, finds my ear buds, charges my ipod, my iphone, my computer, screens my calls, pulls my covers up, then five minutes later pulls them down. He does all this without complaining because he wants to care, comfort, heal, and help, me. I am not a burden to him.
Yes, it's true, immediately following my cancer diagnosis, my plan was to divorce him but in reality, my plight proved to me that I am lovable.
7. I worry I'll wake up square. Not square as in uncool, I mean physically square. This is what happened to my mother. Somewhere in her mid 50's, she started to shrink and yet her mid section grew. She's now as wide as she is tall. She's not fat by any means. If anything, she looks stronger.
I can see the changes already beginning. My back is getting broader. My stomach and arms are getting beefier. And I've already proved that I can fit in a square box.
But unlike me, my mothers complexion is flawless. She has no brown spots. No wrinkles. True, her ears and nose continues to grow, but so does her eyes and they're a beautiful shade of blue. Sadly, they're overshadowed by a constant frown. Even when she's sleeping she frowns. Regardless of the path life takes me on, I don't want to be remembered as a women who frowns.
You must be thinking I'm mad to write about my mother this way. I don't mean to be cruel, but cancer has taught me not to sensor myself. And slowly, deliberately, cancer has dismantled a reverberating negativity that once governed me. Cancer has given me a reason to smile, wide, true, for no reason, for every reason.
photo by Celery Jamey Sims
Monkey Me arriving at camp. Basking in the shine of the Silver Guy. Burning Man 2012
MY MUCH AWAITED STORM HAS ARRIVED. I LOVE RAINY SUNDAYS!