Saturday, December 1, 2012


It is entirely possible that I should give this up for a season.

To be brief: yesterday's endoscopic ultrasound, while showing what might be called good progress, didn't show great progress.  The cancer is less than it was.  That much is good.  It is not, however, so much less that the more extreme surgical options are off the table.  If anything it is the less extreme end of the spectrum that is now less viable and less likely.

To this point I've been a good soldier, so to speak, about this.  I've taken my medications, I've taken my radiation appointments and my chemo pills, I've given enough blood for various tests to keep the characters of Twilight sated for a good solid month.

I've kept busy with classes, which have given enough to keep me plenty busy.  Old Testament I is kind of a lost cause, but the others are going o.k. more or less.  I've fulfilled other kinds of responsibilities on campus, from committees to representation of the student body to the Board of Trustees, to chapel participation, to that part-time job.

I've tried to keep the whining and complaining and pity-partying to a minimum.  I've hopefully not overloaded this blog with cancer talk.  I certainly haven't gone into explicit detail about the effects of the cancer or radiation or chemo.  I can think of one entry that would qualify as particularly negative or harsh on the subject of this cancer, to the point of making a political statement and getting testy about it.

And my good soldiering is just about at an end.

Surgery is set for two weeks from yesterday.  Something is going to get cut; how much remains to be seen.  At the lower extreme a small portion may be taken, and the rectum gets to heal and life goes on.  At the opposite extreme the rectum is given up for lost and a colostomy is performed.  Yes, right down to the colostomy bag.

And I do not feel like being a good soldier about that.  Not now, and especially not if that happens.

I want to complain loud and long.  I want to throw stuff and hit things.  I want to throw hissy fits and temper tantrums.  I want to sulk and withdraw and tell the world to go to hell.

I want to slug people who tell me that "at least the cancer will be gone" or "I know someone who had one of those and still (does whatever stupid activity they happen to do)" or "at least you'll be alive" or any of those supposedly encouraging things.  I do NOT want to be encouraged.  And I sure as hell do not want people telling me what a "Christian" response should be.

I want to scream at Heaven.  I want to accuse God a la Job, and if God starts into any funny business about leviathans I want to scream at God to quit stalling and get to the point.  I'm not Ann Weems, who took grief and anger and anguish and turned them into gripping and compelling modern-day psalms.  I don't have the capacity to discipline my anger that way.  I want it to be wild and untrammeled and even destructive, and I frankly don't want to care who gets offended.

Here is the thing: bizarre as it sounds, I think I could actually cope with being told by my doctor "you are going to die" than with this.  I do not want to die.  I'm not volunteering.  But if the faith that jerked me into this now-imperilled fool's errand means anything at all then I have no business being afraid of death, and I'd better face up to it and find whatever resources I need to in order to deal with it and prepare for it.  At the bare minimum I could justify a small bucket list of my own to chase after, if nothing else.

I don't get that here.  Instead I get the relentless medical propaganda about how You Should Be Happy To Be Alive and that You Will Live A Full And Happy And Productive Life and other platitudes that truly make me want to pound the speaker senseless, when the whole business completely makes my Ick Reflex go haywire and I really want to indulge in that Ick Reflex to the fullest.

I want to pretend I can play a rock guitar just so I can smash it to smithereens.   I want to destroy a punching bag.  I want to sledgehammer a car into an unrecognizable heap.  I want to lash out and be destructive and scream out it's not fair even though I know too many people who have been affected far worse than I by cancer, who have not survived or who have had their livelihoods taken away by it, who have had to battle it again and again.  I know this.  My heart grieves for them.  I am angry for them already.  But I want to be angry for myself, even if the worst outcome for me is nothing like the outcome for them.

I want to BE ANGRY AT THE TOP OF MY VOICE and not care what anybody thinks, in fact to curse a blue streak at anyone who dares to complain or object.

But does that sound like a blog you'd want to read?  Me neither.

So maybe I should give this up for a season.  I don't know.

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