Ted and I met with Dr. Metha on Thursday. Dr. Metha is my old radiation oncologist and one of the experts in treatment of anal cancer in the Seattle region. Seattle is well populated with experts in the treatment of cancer. I imagine I could throw a stone and hit one on Pill Hill. He was much more personable than I remembered. Which was nice. He confirmed with us that the decision to have the APR surgery is the only way to go. Anything else would be palliative care. As much as I wish I didn’t have to have a colostomy I have zero problems electing this option. Zero. I know what hardship looks like and this is not it.
I’ve been thinking a lot about being a cancer patient. It’s not fun for any moment of time. I was in a fine mood Wednesday, even productive with some gardening that I want to get done before I’m laid up recovering. But man, as soon as I stepped into the hospital for that MRI I became so, so crabby. (Covid doesn’t help because I don’t want three people in the elevator. I don’t even want two people in the elevator. Don’t get in the elevator people. Just wait for the next damn elevator. And why are the stairs so fucking impossible to find. Just make the stairs an easy option. See? I’m crabby.) I am trying really super hard to be nice to be people. I think I’m okay at it but I am not happy or very chatty. I just do not want to be there. I do not feel in the least bit sick. I’m really strong and fit and fine and just leave me alone. Ugh. So, yeah, I am irritable. So terribly irritable. It doesn’t feel good. I’m doing breath work. And self-acceptance work. It helps.
My brother-in-law, Todd, died of brain cancer in 1995 (I think). Some years before he died, he was at the University of Michigan for treatment. I don’t remember him having chemo at that time, but I was living in Ann Arbor so I got up every morning to drive him to radiation treatment, (for whatever reason it wasn’t safe for him to be driving). Every day I’d get up and drive out to where he was staying, we went really early in the morning. It was dark and cold. Maybe November? Or January? Sometimes he was so crabby. I probably tried to make small talk. At too early in the morning. Going to get radiation on his head. Being crabby was his right. One time, I failed to wake up to my alarm, and he drove himself. I was so scared that he was going to yell at me, but it was the happiest I’d seen him.
Being a cancer patient is awful. It is not an identity you want. It’s bestowed on you and comes with all sorts of shit. The days you drive yourself, or choose who sees/touches your body, or what your body ingests… those are the good days. Or the less crabby days. I imagine I have some hard days coming up but again, like Todd, but it will be short. I’ll have this surgery and then it will be over. It will take all my breath to make this transition. But I’ll figure it out.
Ted and I tell some morbid jokes that I’d repeat here but I don’t want to scare the children. J
Okay…benefits of having cancer again:
I get to learn about all the recent advances in cancer treatment. That’s cool. I like doing research and I like learning a lot.
I get to remember that I am loved far and wide and that is TRULY something everyone should experience. You. You right there. You are loved far and wide.
I get to eat amazing food that you cook for me. Thank you with all my heart. It’s absolutely delightful, delicious and truly appreciated.
I get to try new restaurants thanks to you and your grubhub gift cards. Thank you so very, very much. It’s hugely helpful on nights when I don’t want to cook or didn’t get the groceries in the door.
Thank you. Truly. Thank you.
I love your comments. And I love you. And I do mean YOU.