Monday, June 6, 2016

Finite Hours, Finite Choices

Quote of the Day:
It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, 
far more than our abilities.
~J.K. Rowling~
"Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets"

Current Local Weather: 
Rain. Let it f-ing rain. There's nothing else left for the 
weather or my heart to do, so let it rain.

Currently on my iTunes:
"Waiting on My Real Life to Begin"
Man At Work
Colin Hay

Dear Family, Friends and my Family of Friends...

I was once handed a smidgeon of advice...I was told that when you love someone, you are making a choice to love them every single day. Some days there won't be love that is obvious, but to love them is a decision that has to be made daily.  But the second you decide, whether consciously or not, that you're not in love with the person, the condition of the relationship deteriorates rapidly and it moves on to a state of one-sided denial along with one-sided "feelings." The hours you are to spend with this person then becomes finite and your various stages of grief kick in. 

I believe that love, in every form has its own one-sided, ill-reciprocating version. Even self-love. There comes a time in all of our lives, even if its fleeting, where we find ourselves having fallen out of love with who we are, or thought we were. Some people call it depression. I call it a normalization period of the human condition. Maybe your life was too overwhelming. Maybe you were wearing too many hats and Dr. Seuss called you out on your game. However, when this period of life happens, no matter how short or long, it steals your capacity to do, to be and to love others. You begin to realize that the hours you have with your true self are finite. You've been betrayed, hurt and the change that comes from that betrayal takes time to fit into your actual self in "real time." Once it hits you, the soloistic love syndrome can appear again any time.

Unfortunately/Fortunately, I've been trapped in this one-sided solo love/hate syndrome for quite some time. Last year, when I was first diagnosed with Leukemia, I had not a thought in my head as to how/when I would succumb to it. I was told I had a favorable "type" and that once in remission it would be YEARS, if ever, until it came back. Regardless of how hard it was to maintain face for the friends and family that knew me best, I started to believe that they were right. I wanted nothing more than to go on with my life. Live it with purpose. Be happy. Find normalcy. Spend the finite hours I had with my kiddos and realize that I had been given a second chance. I WAS FINE...DAMMIT. Fuck the doctors, fuck the cancer. I'm going to live. I began to love who I was, warts and all, in a whole way, again. I began to fight to get back what had once been mine but was lost in the breakup with myself. I sought out a divorce lawyer for the sicko-side of my life and regained my rightful property. Talk about glorious. I rekindled relationships and sought out new ones. I had no idea what was coming...

It was a mere three and three-quarter months later that this new relationship I had with myself began to unravel. Headaches. Pain. Exhaustion. Arguments that lasted all-night long were omnipresent. I finally went to the doctor to expel my paranoia/hypochondraic ways and was admitted to the oncology ward the next day. At first I was told that my small bowel was up in arms, twisted in on itself and rebelling. Easy enough of a fix. Then I was told that my bloodwork was..."off." I was sent home to rest and get better. Within a week, I was worse. My better half had consciously chosen not to love me anymore. My blood work was worse and the oncologist suggested a biopsy. 

Fuckin' A. 

Later that day, I woke up from the sedation of the biopsy to see my doc sitting next to me. People were everywhere. My room was buzzing with nurses and a couple of bumbling paramedics that were ready to take me to University of Colorado Hospital in Denver. Immediately. Doc looked at me and said, Cicily...I don't know what to say other than to tell you that the cancer is back. 

So much for the years and years of time. 

Now...I had finite hours to decide what steps to take next. 

The only coping mechanism I knew to employ was to break things off. I had to consciously make a choice to no longer love myself. Especially the half of myself that was betraying me in the most hurtful and rude way possible. 

As humans we know that no one gets out of this life alive. As a 38 year old woman who has seen more than her fair share of meltdowns and breakups, I realized that not only were my hours more finite than I'd like to admit to, but my choices had to become finite as well. The choice to be happy would have to be finite and immediate. The choice to count my hours was dashed. We've all got finite hours. It's not that aspect of this tale that makes it noteworthy. It's the choice I made, in my right mind and with the right support at my side, that brings this story to its close. 

The part of me that was still alive in my body (a.k.a. my mind) heard these words: I am not a candidate for transplant. My friend who received a transplant relapsed the same time I did, anyway. There's not much else that could be done. Do I want quality or quantity? We could do some treatments but you'd be most likely living out your days in a hospital bed.

The broken half of my spirit then asked the questions. A very wise man/Best father of all time named Jamie Beasley once told me not to ask questions I didn't want answers to...Well, Jamie...I had to ask them anyway.

Me: What does the future look like?
Doc P: We can do more chemo but the chances that it'll kill you, and given this is your third "try" its risk is much higher than the benefits.
Me: Without it, what does life look like?
Doc P: You've got...months to live.
Me: What does that look like?
Doc P: When you relapse again, it'll only take a week or two.
Me: What does that look like?
Doc P: You'll get weaker and more and more tired and eventually you'll go to sleep and won't wake up. Pain may or may not be there. (Little did he know, the pain, the real pain in this life, the kind that breaks every organ into an oblivion, had already reached its "10.")

At this point I heard nothing else. He could have said...KIDDING! Joke's on us. You're fine.
I didn't hear those words either. Every doc, NP and PA that entered the room from that moment on was then quizzed as to if they knew if I heard it right. I had completely broken up with myself and the self that was left was deaf, dumb and blind. Love is suffering. LOVE is SUFFERING.

In the immortal words of John Mayer in his tune, "Shadow Days": "It sucks to be honest and it hurts to be real." 

But as your friend, whether in this life or only in the confines of the internet, I can tell you that this is as real as it gets and I have the feeling that although I want to love more and be in love with who I am/ finite hours are actually coming to a close. So, I'm going to spend an infinity's worth of time with the best kids on the planet, help others beyond their own abilities to help themselves and even if its one-sided, I'm going to attempt to feel whole and invincible again. But Lord I pray that this is all just a bad mood I'm in and that it's just a dream. Life, after all, is but a dream.

I ask myself everyday...Is the doctor right? Lord, I hope not. Only God knows when I'll be whole again. Only God knows when I'll be able to gather my things and trade my tired legs in for wings. And you better believe that I'll be back. I'll be the notes in your solos, the spring in my daughter's steps as they walk down the aisle to meet the man of their dreams and the airbag that catches your beautiful face when life throws you an icy highway.

I've made my finite choice. Suffering has been my theme for years and I'm finally changing it. So many have asked how they can help me...Please come to see me as I cannot travel to you. Hold my hand. Binge watch The Office and Nurse Jackie. Don't question my choices, unless it's a food choice. Send me your music. Call me. Skype me.  Hug me. Hell, forget me. Hug your loved ones. Hold hands with your children. Sing them good night. Read stories and share your actual stories so that when they grow sad, you'll be able to catch them when they fall. I can only say thank you to everyone that's been here and there and everywhere for me. I want to offer more for all who have held me up as the words seem suddenly daft and wrong.

Yours in Choices, Last Chances and Choking Back the Tears,



Anonymous said...

House of Cards babeeeee! Gotta love FU....

A quinoa chicken bowl too please....and for crying out loud, hide the damn Easter candy already!

Anonymous said...

In your darkest moment, you managed to shine a light on the path I want more than anything to live. Thank you Cicily! I may not have been fortunate enough to have known you before, but I am so very lucky to know you now. Mark

Anonymous said...

Cicily - You describe the thoughts of a Cancer fighter so well. I bought myself a blank journal when I was receiving treatment for Non Hodgkins Lymphoma and I could never put my thoughts into any kind of words that made sense. Maybe it was the Chemo - or maybe the Cancer was so horrible that words could not describe it. My thoughts and prayers are with you on your journey to the other side. A new friend in Powder Springs.