Monday, February 22, 2016

Of Mutants and Cockroaches and Being Okay

In the four days since I found out about my cancer, I have watched a three part Ken Burn's documentary called "Cancer, the Emperor of Maladies,"  a Canadian documentary called "A Day without Cancer," and I'm in the middle of 'The Bucket List," a movie that I've seen before and enjoyed about two men with end stage cancer who chose to spend their last days fulfilling their bucket lists.  I've also spent so much time googling uterine/endometrial cancer that Google has started asking me, "Are you sure you want to see this AGAIN?"

Everyone deals with this stuff differently, I think.  What I want to do is talk about it incessantly, but that's not always possible.  While talking about it may decrease my anxiety, I have seen that it increases the anxiety for others, which is the last thing that I want to do.  So I listen to others talking about it on Netflix.

The problem is that the enemy is invisible.  Although I have to admit, calling cancer "the enemy" feels weird because it's my own mutated cells.  The freaking little mutants.  Wouldn't it be nice if life was like a movie and mutated cells gave super powers instead of being death nuggets? Like spidey senses? Or the ability to fly? Or even better, the ability to stalk computer savvy teens without them knowing it?

But alas, my mutated cells are of the garden variety, the kind that grow in weird places just because and make a nuisance  of themselves. Or worse.

It's kind of like discovering that while you were out, someone came into your house and released 5 000 000 cockroaches in it.  Hours ago.  You stand in your living room, your skin crawling, the hair on the back of your neck bristling. You can't see them.  Not even one. But they're there. Doing whatever evil, disgusting things cockroaches do.  You want to run out the door screaming like a banshee, never to return. But this is your house! Your next impulse is to burn it to the ground. But again, your house. You have to live here.  You do a little ninja dance of horror, stomping on invisible bugs, scratching your head and arms compulsively, and cringing as you think of the places they might be. In your underwear drawer! Your kitchen cupboards! THE BABY'S ROOM!!!

Eventually, when you are ready, you take a deep breath and straighten your shoulders. It will take a long time. It will be hard, really, really hard. You will lose things, items that you treasure but just can't keep anymore.  You'll have to get used to the crawly skin feeling because it's not going away any time soon. You'll sweat and hurt and cry and rage and talk about torching the house a lot before you're done, but one day, you will be done.

I stand in the mirror, staring at my house. Frowning. I know where my mutants began, where they were released, but have they had a chance to check out other rooms? I run my fingers through my hair. Damn. I don't want to lose my hair. I really, really don't want to lose my hair. I'm not going to look good bald.  Although, my mad scientist eyebrows could use a good thinning. Of course, losing my hair, even having chemotherapy at all is not a sure thing for me. I may not need it, if the mutants haven't spread. So that's something.

I haven't gotten to the ninja dance of horror yet. I'll probably catch Schmitty licking my toast some morning and go ballistic. Should I warn my family, or let them be as surprised as I will be?

All I know is that it's going to be okay.  Or more accurately, I will be okay with whatever it is. Because God. And my people. And cats. And sun and Spring and music and love.

Just a thought.

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