Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Awful Shit and Grateful Milestones

Dearest One has spent the better part of all his free time these last two months at the bedside of a friend with terminal cancer. Yesterday this friend passed away. We feel both relieved and sad. He wanted so much to live and struggled mightily to do so. Two days ago I was sitting at his bedside so Dearest One could get some rest. There was a point while sitting with him, looking him in the eyes, his suffering so great that I thought to myself, "it's like looking into the face of Christ." Awful shit to witness, I can only imagine it's a thousand times worse to be the one actually going through it.

I had my last 6 month post cancer check up last week. Today I had a biopsy to rule out a spot of skin cancer on my face. Next week there is another test for other post cancer issues and the week after yet another. Having the doctor stop cold while doing the breast exam was a little disconcerting even though I knew the lump he was feeling was there. We are both quite sure it's a cyst but it will be good to have that hunch affirmed. I'm always a little puzzled when people say to me things like, "it's just one thing after another." I want to say, um - that's life - especially as we age. More deaths, more stuff, more. I have a quote by Richard Rohr that I like which says, "To accept reality is to forgive reality for being what it is." Does reality suck sometimes? It surely does.

In a few weeks I'm giving a talk to a group of university students about my journey through breast cancer. I shared that with my doctor and he said that the most memorable talks he remembered from his medical school days were the personal stories patients shared in lecture theatres. He asked how I felt about this being my last 6 month cancer check up. Was I scared? I told him I wasn't; that considering the people I knew who have died of cancer in the last 6 months I was grateful to reach this milestone because so many people don't get to and I named a friend that we both knew who died a few months ago.

I have signs hung on the wall on both sides of my computer screen. The one on the left says, "Be here now." The other one says, "Hello courage." Both needed to accept and forgive reality for being what it is. Lord have mercy.