Tag Archives: Stage IV cancer

It’s snowing outside

Someone keeps sending me flowers….please don’t stop ‚̧

Winter is coming, and it shall be unlike any other. Hunker down and if we must venture forth, mask up.

I am grateful that I have a studio to retire to—one that is private, filled with natural light, and just warm enough. Art fills my head most waking moments. Occasionally I get a catch in my throat and find myself saying ‘I cannot die’. It is affirmation, assertion, fervent desire.

I am full of energy and brimming with ideas. All my life I’ve had a knack for right place wrong time. Being a late bloomer (short on precocity and long on procrastination), I’m just sliding into my sweet spot now—terminal illness be damned. Yes. Now that that little episode of depression (actually, nothing little about it) is bygone, I am bursting at the seams to achieve. Write! Paint! Compose! Assemble! Make–love and merriment! And lots and lots of art!

It’s a fine fucking feeling. Unfettered joy. Bliss. Perhaps a tad of mania. But after my sojourn in melancholia, I think that some over the top happiness is to be not only forgiven, but enjoyed.



All for me

I think (and if I were speaking my cadence would get real slow right now…) one of the most difficult adjustments as part and parcel of this pandemic is me.

I am simply not accustomed to this much alone time. It’s ok, as in, I can do it. But sometimes it fucking sucks.

If I cook, or clean, there’s nobody who’s going to care but me. Same if I choose to not cook or clean.

On the one hand, that’s kinda nice; in a cut myself some slack sorta way. But then again, it gets old. Really fast.

I suppose that’s because I’m not out to entertain/impress/interact with myself. Nope. It’s the difference between masturbation and making love. Quite likely the same outcome. But…that which is shared is just so much better. More memorable, more meaningful, more multidimensional.

We humans are social animals. And this pandemic is messing with that big time.

Once again, I can do this. But damn–I look forward to the day when we can once again just fall into one another’s arms. It’s going to be a hug for the ages.


Almost apoplectic per the apocalypse

When times get rough, alliterate.

Seriously though, this is not how I saw it all going down.

Snow days, power outages, hurricanes, 911–all gone through in the company of family and community. Hunkering down and making forts out of couch cushions and blankets. Lighting candles, having potlucks, hugging each other a little tighter at night. Whatever was afoot, we were in it together.

On The Beach was a dystopian novel from my youth that made a big, big impression on me. Nuclear annihilation, in the form of a radioactive cloud, spreading from continent to continent. In one moving scene a character returns to his home town only to find the skeletal remains of his parents in bed together. It was both horrifying but also comforting—to be in the arms of a loved one when the end came.

Now we are facing some sort of world wide threat which, though not Armageddon, is none the less quite serious. And I am in the unfortunate position of being both exquisitely vulnerable and most decidedly alone.

My friends and family are checking in and making sure my needs are met. It is so very kind and a source of great comfort. But it does not change the fact that I am now socially isolated.

Last night my mucositis was so painfully intense I could not fall asleep. I am also dealing with some sort of virus, but it appears to be garden variety as I have no cough and my breathing has not been compromised. However, physically I am in a weakened state. Dr. Lin called to check in yesterday and discussed the possibility of going further down in dose. Fortunately I have a CT scan prior to my next infusion, and that should help guide our decision.

In the meantime, I have decided that if I can get through the next few weeks, I can get through anything.


In gratitude

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So I’m about to tell you something that is either going to make you laugh or cry. Or not. Maybe you’ll just want to punch me in the face.

Sometimes I get really, really tired of being grateful.

Awful, isn’t it. I know how flipping lucky I am to be alive and most days, my gratitude is boundless. However, twelve years of being grateful for something most people take for granted (waking up in the morning) actually can get old.

As a cancer patient it is expected and accepted that you will feel all sorts of less than pretty emotions. Anger, sorrow, frustration, fear. Confusion. Depression. Bone deep weariness. All taken in stride.

But ingratitude?

The minute I start feeling anything resembling self pity I quickly self admonish. Because I am only too aware what the alternative is.

Those of us with terminal illnesses set the bar both impossibly high but also brutally low.

There is a self conciousness to life when every moment is fraught and at times I dearly miss the insouciance of before. As in, before cancer. The self awareness I have gained has been prompted by significant and persistent provocation. I am both wiser and sadder. And some mornings I’d just like to skip that part about being grateful.

Not because I’m not, but rather because there was something glorious about being so certain that something was due you that giving thanks never even crossed your mind.

I am beyond either innocence or assumption. And that’s ok. I have scans tomorrow, and an appointment with Dr. Shaw next Tuesday. The scans I could do without but the appointment with Dr. Shaw? There is no place I’d rather be. And yes, I will be feeling enormous gratitude.