This is a Pity-Free Zone
Save the pity for this fucking cancer. There I said it. It needed to be said upfront each and every time I told those near and dear to me that I had been diagnosed with cancer. This gave them permission to start cracking-wise which was what I needed to hear right after they told me they were sorry to hear it.
My friends and family were quick to oblige, and I quickly filled my days after diagnosis with the sounds of my own laughter. I was hell-bent on putting some fun in this dysfunction. I had to start with not feeling sorry for myself.
I had lived a life for over fifty years turning feeling sorry for myself into a fine art. If I still practiced this black art I would be in a world-of-shit right now. I knew when I heard that I most likely had Stage IV breast cancer I could not afford to take the risk of freezing in fear. I didn’t know enough to ask the right questions yet, but I had to take immediate action.
The surgeon who had done the biopsy, Doctor Zoe, had already ordered the PET CT scan and made the appointment with Dr. Andrade, the medical oncologist highly recommended by my friends, a doctor and nurse husband wife team with 30+ years serving the local medical community. They know everyone and were only sending me to the best. Although I am alone 5 out of 7 days a week, since Tom works in the TV/Movie making business in Big City, this is the perfect life for me. I’m an introvert and we’ve built my dream studio, 4200 sq/feet with the second floor of an industrial building all to myself, with a 5000 sq/ft roof to soak up some rays IF I ever go outside!
I’ve never been a huge fan of going outside just for the sake of being outside. I am a City Kid born and bred. I also prefer to fight all of my battles alone. Of course I do love to be surrounded by adoring cheerleaders. This clown loves an audience and hearing them laugh.
The clean air, the 15 minute walk to all of my appointments, tests, treatments, the fact that I don’t have to be alone if I don’t want to be but can be left alone when I need to be, well I couldn’t have planned this better. It still took me more than a month to totally grok what I was facing. In the meanwhile I was trusting 21st century conventional medical science. This was a breakthrough of multiple orders of magnitude. I had just spent June to July weighing the option of refusing chemo, surgery, radiation, or all of the above. I really didn’t trust doctors, prescription drugs, the drug companies, or all the marketing around treating cancer. Funny how a diagnosis hits you square between the eyes and either brings back your faith in your best-shot requiring you to trust your doctors, or, well I shuddered to think about the alternative.
It was time to acknowledge that doctors are human, and not infallible. It was time to realize that the medical industries, contrary to the conspiracy theories, are not in the business of killing off their customers. I took a leap of faith that just felt like the right thing to do.
I leave the story about my foray into the world of alternative cancer treatments for another day.