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Fear, or the Lack Thereof

Added: Friday, July 1st 2022 at 3:02pm by epiphanettes

I’ve never been afraid of cancer.  Both my parents had it; my mother and older sister died from it, as did my paternal grandfather. When my diagnosis came a decade ago, I wasn’t scared, I was—in a strange way—relieved. Now that it was iut in the open, I could begin to deal with it.

In time the illness made me feel dirty. I had a difficult time explaining that to friends, to a shrink, to members of support groups. As I went through biopsy after biopsy, some negative, others positive, as cancer solidified itself in my life, I grew to accept it, resent it, be ashamed of it. It made me feel physically unattractive, as if I wore it like soiled trousers. I got angry at the pain it caused, at the embarrassment of having to flee to a restroom after a bout of chemo and, on at least one occasion, not making it in time. I dreaded the biopsies because each required two or three weeks of painful recovery time and, somehow of deeper concern, each called for total anesthesia. I was and remain persuaded the body is not designed to be put to sleep with chemicals, that this practice causes long-term harm and may damage the brain.

I wrote about it often. For a while, doing so made me feel better, more whole and less troubled. I could even write with a degree of objectivity that has long since departed. Now, I hardly write at all, about cancer and other afflictions with which I share life. It hardly seems worth the effort, and I believe the readers who follow this blog would prefer to be offered lighter fare, sort of like the Facebook inundation of cute puppies and winsome kittens.

I was fortunate to have friends who drove me to and from the procedures and, before COVID, listened as the surgeon told them of possible side-effects. On more than one occasion, I was driven and picked up by my life-long friend Paul, and I am persuaded the medical staff believed us to be an old gay couple. They were kind and compassionate, telling Paul that I might be constipated for a time and that my libido might suffer. Paul nodded soberly: Yes, of course, he understood… I could see his chest shaking in repressed laughter—a rare moment of levity in the post-op room.

Right now, the battle is to get my kidneys to behave. The immunotherapy I did for more than a year has apparently damaged them, and they’re shooting out creatinine at an elevated level. I have to deink three liters of water a day, and as a result visit the men’s room hourly. It’s ok, I can do that.

Facebook, ever watchful, is now running riot with ads for highly absorbent men’s underwear. It’s so nice to know someone cares…


User Comments

I am so sorry to for you having to go through all this. I could always tell you that everything in life is part of Jesus's plan. And that I suffered so much in life, but when I offered it up, as a good Catholic should, I was shocked at how I started to make sense of it all. I apologize if talk of Jesus offends you. I hope that someday you can come to terms with your illness and the limitations you deal with because of it. I also pray that there will be a cure for all types of cancer at any stage of progression. 

Hang in there. I'll pray for you, if you're okay with that.

So sorry to hear all that you have been through.  Life can be very difficult for so many people.

I'm sorry to read of the turmoil you go through.  Life is indeed tough with all the illinesses out there.  You are still hanging in there.  May you continue to beat the odds for as long as possible.  God bless you.

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