For awhile there, I was blogging almost every day. I thought I’d never run out of things to talk about. But guess what, not every thought that goes through my mind is important enough to post.
Then Tracy’s cancer came back. We knew it would, but geez…
Like she says, it’s surreal. She feels fine. No symptoms. Just an MRI that says the tumor’s back. One of the side effects of this news is that she has to pack up her life again and move back to the city she had left to live with her lover. But her lover is coming back with her, and her family is in the city where she’s being treated. It’s not like she doesn’t like that city, it’s just that she was building a life somewhere else, and now she has to change her plans. Once again, cancer moves to the front burner.
She has committed to whole year of chemo. A year during which the rest of her life, the life she’s living now, becomes background noise. She already resents that. She’s angry and scared and sad. She hates this. I hate her cancer, too, almost as much as she does. I hate it with a passion.
What this news has done is to remind me of what I’m trying to do here. If www.elainejesmer.com can make any contribution, no matter how small, to the easing of stress experienced by anyone going through, or living with the effects of chemo, my life will be serving a purpose. If I can do that, I won’t just be taking up space.
Those of you who’ve read “I’m Hot!…and I’m Bald!”: CHEMOTHERAPY FOR WINNERS, know that I wasn’t a happy girl when I was diagnosed. I had had a fabulous life for most of my years, but for almost 10 years before I was diagnosed, I had been drinking. What started out as a few drinks every day escalated to downing a quart of tequila every 2 or 3 days. I knew why I was doing that to myself, I had no goals or reasons for living. I had done everything I wanted to do, and then some. I was bored, angry at myself and out of plans for the future — a pain in the butt, probably, although my friends wouldn’t have put it quite that way. Essentially, I was killing myself with alcohol, repeating the same destructive scenario my beloved father did with tobacco, after my mother died.
Then I was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. All of a sudden, literally overnight, a switch flipped in my head. In all the confusion about beginning treatment, I didn’t figure it out right away, but not too long afterward I realized that cancer had given me a deadline.
I always did very well with deadlines. I mobilized. I used my strengths and faced my weaknesses. I cleaned house of everything in my life that wasn’t good for me. Alcohol went first. My neighbor took me out for my last drink the day before I started chemo. I also eliminated anyone in my life whose presence created stress. These choices were easy. My life was on the line.
It wasn’t long after I finished treatment that Tracy’s cancer was discovered. And it seemed to me that she was doing a version of the same thing I was doing. She changed course completely, because when cancer happens, at any stage, happiness isn’t something you put off for later.
Cancer will not take Tracy’s life. She won’t let it. And I believe her. For both of us, it’s just life happening. I think in a way, we’re both lucky. I can’t explain it, but if she reads this, I know she’ll understand. And probably agree.