I’m heading to the hospital tomorrow for another surgery, although compared to the last one this is like a particularly aggressive, deep tissue massage. Too bad Dr. Frenchy doesn’t offer happy endings.
Of course the comparative differential between the esophagectomy (which one of my doctors called “medieval”) and this exploratory laparoscopy are cold comfort when the stakes are considered. To be clear there will be no “good” news coming out of the findings – it will either be bad or really, really bad. Bad is that there is no other obvious cancer than what is in the one lymph node that showed up on the PET scan and I have to go have months of chemotherapy and radiation. Really, really bad is there are more obvious cancer spots and then that’s the ball game.
I keep using sports metaphors. Cancer has made me butch.
It’s all still very abstract at this point. While I don’t necessarily feel good I certainly don’t feel as though I could be dead in 3-6 months as Dr. Wile E. Coyote Super Genius has indicated. I remember what Mary was like for the last 6-9 months of her life and I’m not even in the same ballpark as that.
Again with the sports metaphor. What the hell? Okay, let me rewrite that…. I remember what Mary was like for the last 6-9 months of her life and I’m not even in the same charmingly gentrified neighborhood full of restored Craftsman houses occupied by upwardly mobile gay couples and their yorkies. Doesn’t have the same ring to it, I guess.
Now to be fair, a lot of what Mary was experiencing was a result of years of nearly constant treatment and she was able to live with a much more advanced stage of her cancer than I have so the comparison is not really an apt one, but the bottom line is I don’t feel like one would expect one to feel when one has terminal esophageal cancer. Whether or not that means I don’t really have terminal esophageal cancer but potentially treatable esophageal cancer is why I’m going in for that “massage” tomorrow.
As abstract and undetermined as it all is, it hasn’t stopped me from “going there.” It’s impossible not to, really, so I’m not beating myself up about it too much. I haven’t made any hard and fast decisions about anything, though. How long will I keep working? Will I travel or go skydiving or do other bucket list type things? What’s on my bucket list in the first place? It certainly doesn’t include skydiving, I can tell you that.
I could be wrong but I don’t think the really, really bad news will change things all that much for me right away, and perhaps not at all. Well, except for the whole dying part – that’ll be different. But as I said in a previous post, I don’t think stuff like this changes a person, it amplifies them. I anticipate that instead of turning into some sort of hysterical drama queen, a Zen “nothing can bother me now” type, or a raging “why me?” asshole, I will become more matter-of-fact and control freak-y than I already am.
Why do I think that? I’ve already pulled out the Cancer Binder and am in the process of updating it. Cancer is abstract and makes no sense. Cancer Binder is concrete, tangible, and makes sense. I will take my comfort in any way I can.
So I’ll post an update when I am able to string a coherent thought together post-surgery. I’ll see you downfield.
I mean, I’ll see you at the bar for cocktails!