Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Not Dead Yet

It was almost 7 o’clock when I went to the office;
I hoped I wouldn’t run into anyone working late.
But my boss was still there,
and I knew an awkward conversation was imminent.
I announced in a chipper voice, “I’m still alive!”
He looked exhausted, and his face was gray.
He accused me of being too calm.
Apparently my email of notification was too calm.
And he said I was in shock and just going through the motions.
Well, no shit, Brian.

It’s the little things that frighten me,
not so much my mortality.
I mean, if I contemplate being sick enough to die,
that just seems ridiculous.
But it’s the anesthesia shot before the biopsies,
having to choke down barium before a CT scan,
nausea, diarrhea, hair loss, and other side effects,
the little unpleasantries and indignities of tests and treatment
that keep me awake at night.

This is the point where I remind everyone
that I’ll be okay.
It will eventually be okay.
Although I’ve beaten some spectacular odds to be here,
science seems to be on my side.
Early detection, no lymph node involvement.
I’m meeting with my surgeon tomorrow,
not even 48 hours after finding out my results.
Don’t worry too much.
Because it stresses me out when people are worrying about me.

I am going through the motions,
but what else can I do?
I am a body to be acted upon.
I have to just lie there and let other people do their thing.
I have to hope they’re kind and have a sense of humor.

I am too calm but not because I want to be your Brave Sick Friend,
flipping her wig and saying, “Take that, cancer!” with a wink
as some inspirational contemporary pop song plays.
No, to be calm is to be in control of the uncontrollable.
To steer the ship in the storm to a safe haven.
To drive the Crazy Bus with my passengers, Gnawing Anxiety
and her twin brother, Are You Shitting Me?

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