Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Challenged in More Than One Way

Tonight I was talking to someone about my situation and health. It is someone who feels strongly that the doctors know best. He went as far as to say that I was being stupid in my choices. He was adamant and he was emotional.

It was incredibly distressing for me, and I wasn't sure how to handle it. At one point he was even crying.

It made me wonder if others feel the same way, and I just don't have an awareness of it because they don't speak up the way he did, and they don't share their emotions in the same way.

This balancing act is really difficult. My intention all along, as difficult as it may have been, has been to be open and honest about all aspects of this experience. And yet, it is much easier to be honest about the things that no longer seem to matter than the things that are currently still in the process of mattering.

It is really difficult to have to make choices that don't always sit totally well, but are the choices none-the-less, and then have someone come along convinced that you are making the wrong ones. It isn't that the other choices are necessarily "right," but that doesn't matter as the person is still convinced that they are.

It is no wonder I don't want to talk about this stuff sometimes. I want to be open and honest, but that all too easily lends other people to put their few cents into the mix in a way that isn't helpful to me, and isn't going to do anything to change my mind. Logic does not help either.

At one point the person was talking about logic and science, and how I wasn't necessarily considering them. Well, in that space where logic and science don't exist is the space that miracles do. It is not that I am sitting here, hoping for a miracle to the exclusion of all else. And yet, I do feel like at this point a miracle is the one thing that is going to save me and keep me here, despite being dealt the cancer card.

It likely could sound to some like I am giving up or resigned or delusional. I am sure that is the case for more than one person. At times, I do question it for myself. But, here's the thing, even if I am delusional, maybe it is exactly what I need to be for my experience of life at this point in the game. Maybe it is the thing that will keep me here ultimately. I do know, without a doubt, though that I am not resigned and I am not giving up. I just don't necessarily know what to do, and there is a difference.

To anyone who does care about me, and is concerned, I love you for loving me. I can't imagine what it would feel like to love someone deeply and feel like I could possibly lose them. I can't imagine what the tightrope walking would feel like.

Given what I know now, I would only respect a person's choices, whatever they were - even if I disagreed. But the thing is, I don't even know that I could disagree. There is so much that is unknown and uncertain. How does anyone truly know the right choice to make? There are stories of things that happen at all ends of the spectrum of life. How can anyone be certain that the only version they believe in is the one for all people everywhere?

And yet...many times that is exactly where we go when we are invested in a desired outcome. We go to the place we think is certain. We think is certain. Any way that we go we can still find ourselves in disappointment and sadness.

The only way that I can leave this life "comfortably" is if I do it my way, on my own terms. In some way it is ironic as I have to live with my choices which may mean dying which really means that others will actually be the ones who have to actually live with the results of my choices, and not me.

The person I was speaking to tonight told me that he would be angry at me if I died. He wants me to do everything I can to live. The problem - in this case - is that what that entails in his world may vary from what it is in my world.

I don't want to go anywhere any time soon. Not in the least. I just don't know if it is up to what I want consciously. Those who love me would rather I stick around, too. But I am not sure it is up to what they want, either. Good and desired and greatly loved people die all of the time, and it makes no sense to those left behind.

The dying part of life often makes no sense and it can leave us unsettled and unhappy, to say the least. In some ways, it would seem I have it a bit easier than those around me. When I am gone, it would seem, I am not going to really care that I have moved on. There are times I feel like I am at peace with that. At times that probably rattles those around me because those who are the least at peace may be the most likely to do anything and everything to stick around. I could see how it could potentially look like giving up.

In some cases it might just be that. But in other cases, it might be anything but that. How I am doing things right now is more about me wanting to live as full of a life as possible than it is about anything else.

I would prefer people not think that I am going to die, or that I am giving up, but sadly it seems inevitable that that will happen. It is one of the reasons I haven't wanted to talk much about what is actually going on with me. But it also makes it extraordinarily difficult to convey the severity of my situation in a way that people will want to pay attention and help.

As with so many other facets of my experience, my guess is that there have to be others who are experiencing this paradox. It is likely no wonder that people don't talk about things at all in the first place, if they are able to remain silent.

I am long past being silent, and yet I am struggling to find the balance between taking care of myself and my well being and sharing in a way that might be beneficial not only for me, but for those around me.

Someone told me recently that I should stop talking about cancer, and just move forward and live life. In theory it is an interesting thought. In practice, though, I don't know if I will ever be done talking about cancer. I feel like I am supposed to talk about it, and that many of my experiences only support that idea. Every time I experience something, I feel like I need to write/talk about it. I don't often feel like I have a choice as to whether I do, or not.

Every experience has been a layer of the experience of cancer that is spoken about and shared. The expression is a rare one, which is what has me think it is a necessary one. I wish I didn't feel this way. It is not that *I* feel important, but rather that the message is, and I get to be the messenger.

In some ways I am grateful for the prospect of being able to make a difference. In other ways, it can be challenging beyond my ability to express it. I still remember talking to someone who had been dealing with breast cancer about how they could help others, and how she seem to be repelled by the idea. It was so not going to be a part of her agenda. I think she wanted to distance herself from it as soon as she could.

I suppose the way I feel could change at some point, but at the moment, it seems that my life is designed to be this way. I will keep listening to that voice, as I suspect that my survival depends a great deal on my speaking up and out. It may not mean I get to survive for a lot longer, but the fact is in life, none of us get out alive any way.

I am relatively certain the point isn't likely so much to stay alive as it is to live as much as we can while we are alive. I would guess that is a good thing, as I suspect that the latter is a lot easier to do, any way.


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