Tuesday, June 1, 2010

What I Learned With a Little Time Off, and Some Assistance From the Wilds of Idaho

Tomorrow is my PET/CT. In a way, it really is my PET/CT, more than any of the other ones have been, because it's the one I insisted on getting after spending a few months treating my cancer in my own way, before adding any new Western treatments. I should capitalize that: My Own Way. Back in March, at my last set of tests, new cancer was discovered in a variety of places, but at a low, low level. It was, in fact, the opportunity I had been wishing for: enough cancer to measure so that I could try some of my own things, but little enough that I could try my own things for a few months without putting myself in the position I was in two years ago.

Don't get me wrong or tell me to be careful what I wish for—I also wish to be entirely cancer free forever and ever. I wish that my full-time, 24/7 job would fire me, boot me out the door, let me paddle around in unemployment for awhile, then let me maybe put some serious thought into switching careers. But it's not going to do that—not in this lifetime—and so instead I accepted the opportunity it did offer me.

My Own Way has been very different this year than it was in 2007. In 2007, I got my boob sliced off and then I washed my hands of the whole matter. I attempted to move out of the country, and took that opportunity to cut ties with Western medicine. I pretty much figured that I could beat the whole thing with force of will.

We know how that turned out.

This year, I took supplements: MMS (the Miracle Mineral Solution) and oleander. I read information, I listened to people, and I knew that simply doing nothing was not an option. I have also been seeing a talk therapist (well, sometimes just talking over the phone), and doing my best to let out emotional and spiritual sludge and decay. I have also been trying to incorporate my cancer more into my understanding of my life. I know I've talked about my tapestry, but even so, I kept feeling that time at the clinic was a step out of my real life. An empty space that had no bearing on what I was really all about. I would lie in my scans feeling, if anything, vaguely inconvenienced, but usually it's my habit to simply lie still, occasionally wondering how I got to be in that tube. I'm trying to change that mindset, to allow my life and all its threads to blend together a little better.

And what I've come to, having had the freedom to explore My Own Plan, having had the time to manage that in the middle of everything else in my rich existence, and having had two weeks of utter joyful satisfaction in LIFE and what amazing things I can do with it, is this: It doesn't matter where the care comes from. The only important thing is that I get to continue, as long as possible, hauling bales of hay. Riding 4 miles out of my way, and falling into bed, so blissfully comfortable and muscle-fatigued that it's a singular pleasure to lie awake. Waterskiing. Visiting foreign lands. Writing. Cooking. Clipping the nails of our incomparable dogs. Sharing spur-of-the-moment projects with Ian. Tortilla soup. Working out the etymology of a word. Piano. Morning coffee. And an infinity more.

There is no value added by the simple fact of me choosing the drugs. I don't have to have that control.

And so, tomorrow: my PET/CT. To my surprise, I find myself completely indifferent to the results. The scan will show what it will show, and I will make a choice.

Such is life.

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