For The Last Six Days, There’s Been A Non-Stop Party In My Head

It’s so loud sometimes I’m surprised it doesn’t disturb the neighbours. I walk around with a silly grin on my face. It’s raining? Great! It’s cleared up and the sun’s out? Great! It’s raining again? Super! It’s cold? Super-duper! Can’t get any work done? Hey, tomorrow’s another day, you can get up early again––yay!

But today I think things are finally calming down. I can read for longer than half an hour; I got some writing done; my smile muscles aren’t cramping. I have resumed thinking about what I can do to improve or maintain or at least not make things worse in my corner of the world. I’m thinking about where the world science fiction convention will be after Helsinki in 2017. I even bought green bananas.

And, to my surprise, a new emotion has entered the mix. I thought I’d felt everything I was going to feel––denial, bargaining, anger, anxiety, confusion, anger, disorientation, anger, jealousy, envy, determination, anger, hope, anger, anger, delirious joy, contentment, more delirious joy, joyful hysteria, and all points in between.

But no, there’s a new player in the limbic arena and it’s one I hadn’t foreseen: embarrassment.

Yes, I am ecstatic, totally happy that I can tell people I am will be living with canceruntil further notice and not that I’m halfway through the rest of my life. ButI’m also embarrassed. Underneath all the party noise, there’s a little voice saying, So, all the people you told––now what do you say to them? ‘Oh, hay guise, remember when I told you I had terminal cancer? Well, it’s the funniest thing…’ 

Yes, I know this is silly. There is no good reason to be embarrassed because the drugs worked better than anyone anticipated. Until last week’s appointment, as far as I knew, I was a short-timer. The cancer is still there; it hasn’t gone away. But it’s so little and wimpy, it should be embarrassed to call itself a carcinoma. There are probably lymphomas laughing at it, tumours making fun of it. You call yourself a killer? Better get outa there before you get beat up by a white cell!

I’m sorry. I make jokes when I’m embarrassed. (Disclosure: I make jokes when I’m not embarrassed, too, so I guess my telling you that is non-information and thus pointless. But I digress.)

In other news, I went to the gym this morning. I’m now a gym hero laureate, as a new hero has been recognised in Ilford––a young, formerly morbidly obese man who achieved serious weight-loss. Oddly enough, his doctor gave him two years to live if he didn’t lose weight. Now he has, and besides having a much longer life expectancy, Kayes looked wonderful. I did send the easyGym people an email telling them my own good news. So far, they haven’t met me at the entrance to tell me I’m not a hero after all, so I guess they’re cool with it. Still wore my “I’m making cancer my bitch” shirt. That’s still true, and it’s something I do every day. Because taking off and nuking it from orbit just to be sure isn’t an option.

And finally, my hair is coming in curly. I wish it would stay that way.


6 thoughts on “For The Last Six Days, There’s Been A Non-Stop Party In My Head

  1. Oh Pat, don’t be embarrassed! Just enjoy your new lease of life. 🙂

    My hair is still curly and the top just won’t lay flat. All those years that I spent in my youth, back combing and crimping to get it to stand up and now I can’t get it to lay flat. Oh, the irony!

    I’ve got a scan on Friday. My pain has spread a little, so want to get it checked out. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

    Have fun!

    • I permed my hair for over two decades—otherwise it was flat and lank and nothing. Then I got into hair extensions; got hair extensions out, did some updos, then went crazy with crimping until chemo put a stop to it. Now as it has been getting onger, the curls are getting more defined and I really like them. I also like having grey hair, which has more body than my old hair.

      And thanks for the good words. You’ll be in my mind all week and I’ll think good thoughts for you and the scan on Friday. Hang in there.

  2. Those ol’ emotions, they can really sneak up on you, can’t they? Myself, I’m almost ashamed when I’m with my Livestrong classmates because I had such a comparatively easy time: I caught it very, very early, I had a superb surgeon who got it all on the first try, and I didn’t even have to have chemo or radiation. Whereas my classmates, some of them, have to have their chemo pumps on *while exercising* – some miss days because their radiation has made them too sick…and some still have cancer, multiple places. I feel like a fraud! Yes I am mind-bogglingly grateful it went so well for me – but we daffy humans can feel more than one emotion – we can rock a whole circus of contradictory emotions like the Karamozov Brothers juggling axes! Whee!

    And ain’t it great to feel emotions? And stub your toe? forget to take the garbage out? And talk to a friend on the phone? And just to BE?

    • This sounds like my initial cancer experience. When I first got cancer––stop me if you’ve heard this already, or, well, just skip ahead––they caught it so early that they discovered it was even less advanced than they’d thought. No chemo, no radiation. A year and a half later, it came back, incurable, inoperable, and, they thought at the time, terminal. I had six round of chemo and to everyone’s surprise, that killed off a lot of it. Hormone therapy has reduced it further, to the point where I am terminal only in the technical sense. I.e., it’s still incurable but if things continue this way, I won’t be checking out for quite some time.

      Before my cancer recurred, I was talking to a friend who was at the mercy of a very aggressive cancer that killed him too soon. I said that I felt like a poser calling myself a cancer survivor next to him. He told me never to feel that way––if you survived cancer, you’d survived cancer and that was no small thing.

      And yeah, it’s great to be alive. Everyone who woke up this morning won the lottery, and every day above ground is a good one.

    • I have loved Dame Shirley Bassey since she blew my mind with the Goldfinger theme. I think she is an icon of inner and outer strength and the happiness that comes from same. So thanks for this, Simon!

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