Monday, October 22, 2012

Letting Go...

We all have a voice in our head that pushes us on when we most need it. It's the voice heard by the marathon runner, the exhausted new mom or the cancer patient trying to get through her 20th round of chemo. I don't claim to know what that voice is. Some say it is God or angels or the spirit within each of us. It is whatever you think it is, I guess. But it's there and it's real. I know because I hear it all the time; right before the nurses insert the needle into my port, when my body crumbles from the effects of chemo, when I look in the mirror and don't recognize the person looking back at me. "Keep fighting", it tells me, "don't give up." But what happens when that voice tells you to stop fighting...when is starts saying to let go?

Last December, as I was recovering from surgery, someone very close to me was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. There are no 'good cancers' but pancreatic cancer is a bad one, a terrible one. I have watched her struggle with its effects and it has been heartbreaking. The words 'battle and fight and war' with regard to cancer are so trite but I can't think of anything more appropriate. Your body is literally at war with itself and you have to gather all of your strength to keep the good side fully armed. But after awhile the fighting starts to wear you down. I know the depths one can sink to during treatment and how hard it is to climb out of the abyss. I think she is tired and ready to put down her arms. Our conversations are different now. She doesn't say things like, "Next year at your birthday party..." Now she talks of funeral plans and getting her finances in order for her children. I don't want to hear this; life without her is unimaginable to me. But there is that voice again in my head, this time though it is telling me to not fight...it is telling me to accept what is happening with her and let go. But I can't.

Watching someone you love suffer is a pain I wish on no one. I feel helpless and angry and am sometimes overwhelmed with crippling sadness. I become enraged at this fucking disease. My mother had cancer. My father had cancer. My grandmothers died from it, as did my uncle. I have it and so does she. It's enough and I'm worn down from it. But I can't give up; not on myself and not on her. I can learn to accept what is happening but I won't let go. I won't let go of our bond, our connection, our love for one another. I won't let go of our memories, her laugh, her smile. When the day comes that I have to physically let her go, I can accept that. But her spirit? That will stay with me  forever...




Monday, October 1, 2012

Oh The Horror...


I've always been a huge fan of horror movies. Even as a kid, I would read Fangoria magazine and rent the films on their top ten lists. Nothing was ever too gory for me; Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Faces of Death, Hellraiser...I loved them all. I read Stephen King and Clive Barker as bedtime stories. I longed to feel my heart race and my body tense up right before the killer appeared. That was then. Lately, I would much rather see a Judd Apatow or Coen brothers flick. My life needs more humor and far less horror.

When people hear that I'm waiting for test results they always say, "I can't imagine how nervous that must make you." Well, nervous isn't really the word. The only way I can accurately describe the feeling is to ask...have you ever seen a horror movie? Do you know that moment right before the busty coed pulls back the shower curtain and you get those butterflies in your stomach because you don't know what to expect? Yeah, it's kind of like that except multiply it by 1,000 and it lasts for days and never lets up. See, I'm waiting to hear if the killer that lives inside of me is ready to attack again or if he is gone for good. Any fan of the genre knows that even when the killer is supposedly dead there is always that chance he may resurface. I thought he was dead once; I thought the nightmare was over. Then he once again appeared; lurking in the shadows on a scan. I burned him alive. Not wanting to take any chances, every other week I go to Sloan and together we destroy the village he built; house by house, cell by cell.  I don't have many weapons left in my arsenal so I'm hoping this one finally did the job. I wonder if for the rest of my life I will always be looking over my shoulder, waiting. 

So for the next 5 years, every three months I'm going to pull back that curtain and pray he's not there. But if he is, I will never be that stupid girl who runs and falls. Too often I have watched helplessly as he tortured and killed people I love. I won't go down like that. I'll be the one who is ready for the fight.