Making peace

Seldom have I found a year so difficult to get along with as I did 2018. And, true to form, she closed with an uncalled for display of downright bitchiness.

Three straight days of tearing up my loft so as to prepare for an exterminator. Covering whatever I could in sheets, taping plastic garbage bags over the rest.

And then off I went, exhausted and little bit tardy, to one of the best weddings ever. Two beautiful brides and the father of one toasting ‘love is love.’ Rocking high heels (that would be me, resurrecting a skillset from my youth) but then abandoning them at the end so as to dance with abandon.

Joy joy joy.

When I emailed my landlord for an update I learned that the exterminator felt it unlikely that my loft should need another go. However, if I wanted to put everything back (um, yes), if I left a two inch gap between furniture and wall, a wand could be then inserted for extermination if indicated.

So home I came, windows wide open, fans going, plastic garbage bags untaped, sheets laundered, floors mopped, furniture shoved back in place. Getting back my sanctity.

I always remind myself that in every crisis there is opportunity. It wasn’t particularly easy to see the positive in bedbugs next door, but in the end, I reassembled my loft in a way that is better. If I have to shift again, it will be much easier and in the meantime, the flow of space is far more pleasing.

So there you go.

And the same with 2018, a bit of an unmitigated disaster itself. Opportunity in that crisis–a chance to recalibrate and reassess.

To that end I have pulled back into myself just a wee bit. Introspection and perhaps even a tad of introversion. Writing, painting, waiting. For what, I am not exactly sure. Living in that liminal space where the only quantifiable concept is progression. That is a known, a given. Something that must be lived with.

Ironic that a certainty results in so much uncertainty. But that is something I must make peace with.

I’m working on it.

Sleeping around

I spent the bulk of the past two days prepping my loft for the exterminator that is due on Monday. And I should add that when first alerted to the bedbug issue next door some weeks ago, I both explained that I was physically unable to move all that was required and also quite concerned about exposure to pesticide (I mean, I do have lung cancer).

Well, my protests went unheeded. Today I asked for a little insight as to what to expect after Monday and was told that this would be the first of three treatments occurring every 10-14 days.

Not what I signed on for. I then sent this message to my landlord:

 I have now spent two full days shifting my loft (alone). Two brutal days even though I am also struggling with my lung cancer now. In its current state my living space is not habitable. From everything I have learned if you’d gone with the high heat method I wouldn’t have had to have moved anything, it would have been more likely to be effective, and I would not have been exposed to pesticides. 
In my five years here I have dealt with black mold, a nonfunctioning air conditioner during a heat wave, leaks (yet unresolved) and now this. I listen to a dehumidifier all day long and now a bed bug trap all night long. 
I have never asked for nor been offered a break on rent. I must now put my foot down as there is no way to justify $1850 a month to live in these conditions. 

No response, which has been the status quo.

So. I won’t be paying rent until this is resolved. Wish me luck. And, as my loft is in total disarray and will also be sprayed with pesticides not once but three times, I am simply going to find someplace else to stay.

Local? Looking for a house guest for a day or too? I am going to try to farm Kumo out to someone here in the lofts so I will be traveling lite. Hit me up if you’d like a sleepover 😉

xo

Oh shit.

Really.

Believe it or not I harbored this little teeny tiny hope that my biopsy results would come back negative for cancer. That they would be positive for infection or some sort of mold or tuberculosis or aspirated noodle.

Hope is a glorious untamed thing that lives outside the boundaries of reason.

Reality is a bossy bitch that likes to play by the rules and this morning she told it to me straight.

INTERPRETATION:
POSITIVE FOR MALIGNANT CELLS.

Alright. Fair enough. I could dream but hey, this was the not-just-likely but assured outcome. However, the next part caught me up short as my histology has progressed as well: adenocarcinoma with acinar and micropapillary patterns and mucin.

That’s all I know thus far and it is information gleaned from Patient Gateway without the benefit of my dear oncologist’s insight. Therefore, I shall refrain from interpretation until we have had the chance to discuss.

Well, I had just finished reading the path report (followed, of course, by a little bit of panic inducing googling) when I opened an email from my landlord. There has been a bedbug situation in our building and the current ground zero is right next door. When first apprised of this state of affairs I was assured that exterminating my loft was an option but only if I was able to prep it first. Prepping included moving all furniture two feet from walls, washing all clothing/fabric items, removing all hanging pictures. Etc…etc…

This news put me into a bit of a tizzy. I have way too many books, lots of art, heavy antique furniture (I now feel anything bigger than a breadbox should be on wheels) and…my vintage clothing stock. In other words, NFW. So, instead, we installed a bedbug monitor/trap at the head of my bed. Once it gets dark, this little carbon dioxide operated monstrosity makes a loud clunk and flashes a red light every couple seconds. All night long.

Now I honestly believe I have PTSD associated with the 42 brain MRI’s that I’ve undergone. Any sort of loud, repetitive percussive noise sets me HIGHLY on edge. And when it’s right next to my head while I’m supposed to be sleeping? It’s been a rough couple of weeks.

However. The good news is no bed bugs have been caught and I have not lost my mind. The bad news is that the unit next to me is being exterminated again and my landlord feels it would be prudent to also treat my abutting wall. A wall that runs the length of my loft. A wall that has all my bookcases on it as well as a massive antique hutch chock full of stuff.

I don’t even know what to say. But I better get busy.

Solstice

today
I will count the spiders in the window
take a walk in the morning
and a nap right after
little white dog beside me
the sun in my lap
yellow blanket wrapped tight

around

today I will listen
to the sound in my chest and
think it
far off thunder;
but also understand
that a storm is coming

today

I will get out
the good
china

Threading the needle

So. For me, this, right now, is the most difficult part of dealing with my own cancer. The mind fuckery of waiting. 

My friend Tom Monks replied to a previous blog with a comment that could be a little Haiku poem:

Waiting for results
Waiting anxiously
Waiting patiently
Waiting ……..

Yes. As I remarked to Tom, waiting is such a part of this journey they even have designated spaces for it: waiting rooms.

Unfortunately there is no such space in your head. Bills come due, plans are made, the Holidays happen with or without you. 

It is such an exquisite balancing act. Talking down the fear, the angst, the worry. Staying positive in the face of a level of uncertainty that is, at times, almost incomprehensible. Making myself walk and go to the gym regardless of the fact that I already feel a physical diminishment. Rather, going explicitly because I do. 

Getting my warrior on even as I look around me with ever greater tenderness; I love this freaking world. Readying myself to battle an enemy who I am familiar with in a way that borders on contempt, and yet still at a loss as to how to go about it.

Trying to be at peace while simultaneously preparing to wage war. 

Threading the needle.

xo

Where do we go from here

inked

Prior to my biopsy, this mystery mark was made on my left shoulder. Not certain as to the significance, but hopefully it aided them in getting the right (make that left) side of me.

Aside from that, I am left with two tiny entry points high on my left breast as well as parallel tracks on my left cheek—a red mark from lying face down on top of the oxygen tubes for more than four hours.

Unlike my previous biopsies (there is a benefit to scar tissue), my lung did not partially collapse this time. Diane was able to take me back home with her with the caution that I was to have no alcohol. Therefore, I only had a small glass of wine that evening 😉

What I know thus far is that they were able to get adequate tissue, including a sample for the sponsor of my trial (a token of appreciation). Over the next four weeks, results of genetic testing should start trickling in. This is the watch and wait part of cancer.

Alice called me yesterday (as well as once the night of the biopsy and she also came to see me twice on the day of—goddess that she is). This was a CT assisted biopsy and the surgeon/radiologist who performed the procedure is  also the radiologist who reads my scans, so he is extraordinarily familiar with my body/cancer. He told Alice that the tumor around my heart (which they did not biopsy–too proximal) has grown very little and that the tissue that they did sample–along the chest wall–is growing rather slowly. She feels radiation may be an option there but not for the cancer hugging my heart. 

Aside from that, there is nothing concrete to discuss yet. I am optimistic, she is cautiously so. 

It really is pull the rabbit out of the hat time. And as important as the magician (Alice) is, I am focused on that rabbit.

To you, dear cancer

*thank you http://www.bigwheelpress.com

In which I express my sentiments in the clearest language possible.

Yep. Had I my druthers, this relationship would be over. You, evicted; kicked to the curb. And then kicked yet again, hard. One big take that, you creep. 

Tenant from hell, you are. Sneaky, freeloading, destructive little shit. Totally without consideration for your host. Seemingly intent upon destroying the only home you’ve ever had.

Thing is, you underestimated me. 

Once upon a time I was both hesitant and more accommodating. No longer. Our incessant discord has remade me. In order to survive I have become fearless, fierce, ferocious. In this perverse game of chicken, I shall not swerve. And if I cannot shake you, I’ll take you with me.

That’s not a threat, it’s a promise. 

love, Linnea