Thursday, March 13, 2014

Fresh Fruit

When you have cancer, you meet a lot of other people with cancer and which can be both lifesaver and a double-edged sword. I have met people who are angry and bitter and who ask, why? why? and my heart goes out to them, but I can’t be around them for long. I have met people who’s grace, and attitude blows my mind. People who I might not see again, but think about every day. And there are people I know who have heard the words that I most fear hearing, but who’s eyes are still bright and who live, live every day under such duress. My heart aches and breaks and yet is enriched by these people for whom I can’t find adjectives apt, descriptions worthy.

I'm working on a group project, trying to get something organized, and I know that I'm really pissing people off, I can tell I'm being perceived as bossy and intransigent, and while I care about that, I don't really care about that. Actually caring about it, would make me upset and while I didn't used to have control over that, for some reason, now I do, and I am choosing not to dwell. I know I'll get the job done and I know my instincts are spot on, and I don't have the patience to waste time on handholding and apologizing for myself. I simply accept that my group/people skills are not up to other peoples standards, but I also know that I get things done, and am very generous with my time. I know that this project will be successful, I'll get absolutely no credit for it, and the people involved will like me a bit less and resent me a bit more, all while benefiting from my work, and it just doesn't bother me. I know that all sounds terribly arrogant, but the last thing I am is arrogant or confident, so for me, I think this is a good thing. Is it a post-cancer thing? Post-50 thing, post-divorce thing? Beats me, but it's definitely a change for me, especially that I'm choosing not to over think it, feel bad about it, or most importantly, am unwilling to apologize for myself. I am more sick and tired of apologizing for myself while letting other people walk all over me, I am just done with that. I am no longer inviting criticism, or accepting it, because we could all criticize each other to death and I've always had some weird, vulnerability and openness, that invites people to feel safe criticizing me. It's all perception, who's right and who's wrong, who stepped on who's toes, and I'm finally going to choose to go with my perception. I'm not on a self-improvement kick, I'm not on a need-everyone-to like me kick, I'm on a get it done, live my life on my own terms kick. Oh my god, it's scuba power. It's magic turtle healing power. Oh, people, don't mess with me, I think those days are done.

I visited a friend at chemo today and brought her some food and tea, she offered me money, puhleeze, that is a preposterous notion. Then I thought of all the people who brought me tea and food and I too offered them money, no one ever took me up on the offer either. I would have been happy to pay anyone back, cancer doesn’t mean you get free muffins on demand, but I think if anyone had taken my money I’d have been a little hurt which really isn’t fair, but would have been true, nonetheless.

There are two main hospitals for treating women’s cancer in Providence, Miriam Hospital and Woman & Infants. My oncologist practices at both, but I chose to be treated at Miriam because it’s about eight blocks from my house, so for the first half of my year-long odyssey, I could walk to and from, and if I ever needed a ride, there were peeps in my hood I could call on. Currently, however, post chemo, I go to W&I because they have a great outpatient support center for cancer rehab. I don’t know how it’s funded, but bless it’s little heart, I get free PT, lymphodema therapy and can get subsidized, high quality, acupuncture for $35. These services share a floor of an out-building with the Infusion Center, which is a nice term for the chemo ward. They just moved in to new space and it’s beautiful. Every time I go for PT, which is often, I spend a perverse amount of time trying to decide if I got cancer, would I return to Miriam and my beloved nurses and the convient locale, or would I go to W&I because the chairs are nicer and the bays are so much roomier and the new decor is lovely and the heat works. I agonize over this decision, until I realize how insane it is, the worst, worst possible use of my time, my thought time. I’m not planning on getting cancer again and if I do, the least of my worries will be where to be treated and certainly, most certainly, that bridge can be crossed should it smack me across the face, not a minute sooner. Still, I do this over and over again before I realize my madness, dope slap myself, and stop it. I always figure, I can't leave my beloved nurses, but today on my visit, I discovered fresh fruit and real food in the fridge which might be the ultimate game changer, I would have sold my soul for fresh fruit on a whim during chemo. Clearly I got cancer two years too soon, just like I had kids before they had electric swings and super cute clothes. My swing had to be cranked up every 10 minutes and that would usually wake the baby, as would the swing running out of juice. New moms can now put their babies in a perpetual swing and nap along with them, oh the bliss.

I’ve been writing compulsively as is evidenced by my daily posts. I don’t know why I’m doing it, long winter? habit? need? Don’t know, so I’m just going with the flow. I am exhausted, but have manic mental energy that wants to be scuba diving, but can’t so my brain is babbling here instead. It’s frustrating how badly I want to be somewhere else, doing something else, and how much I don’t want to be doing what I need to be doing. Oh messy house, messy studio, disastrous business, home improvements, paperwork, dormant gym membership, I want nothing to do with you.

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