It is 9:26 am, Mountain Time, November 11.
I am sitting in the Denver Airport, and it is freezing outside. I am really glad that I am just here to change planes to head to the east coast. The blast of cold I felt as I deplaned from the first leg of my trip from ABQ (Albuquerque, for the uninitiated) was more than enough for the moment.
I was sitting here and the thought, "I love my life" has been echoing in my head. It feels a tad ironic, given all that is going on in my life and all of the things I am going to have to be dealing with shortly, but apparently there is a part of me that loves my life enough to make that echoing claim.
I hadn't really talked about what has been going on the last few weeks - at least not in the kind of detail that would prevent you from wondering why I was sitting in the Denver Airport. Sometimes I feel very much scrutinized by the things I do. One of the paintings I did in the last few weeks spoke very loudly and clearly to that particular piece of my current life puzzle. And, as you might imagine, it wasn't exactly a good thing that I was feeling at the time.
It really is never a good thing.
At the same time, there are times that I feel like I need things that are for me. I share so much of my life that it is at times very hard to be so open. I am sure there are some who think I should then be less open. I am sure there are some who wish I wasn't so open. Well that makes at least two of us that are uncomfortable with some of the places I wind up going publicly.
It is really difficult to live under the microscope of another. We all do, every day, but it isn't quite the same as when you are asking for another's help. Suddenly others feel compelled to tell you things they say will be helpful, but often are just the things they feel they need to say in regard to whatever things they are dealing with in relation to their relationship with what I am dealing with. They also judge whether or not you should do the things you do, eat the things you eat, buy the things you buy.
Nothing could be more fun. Not.
I was sitting here and I wanted to sit here, quietly, but my mind wouldn't quiet. I thought about writing on my cell phone, but didn't want to run the battery down. I need it for my boarding pass, among other things.
I had brought my laptop, and I debated as to whether or not I should pull it out. It was in a bag, tightly packed. VERY tightly packed. It has approximately half of the 42 canvases that I painted in the last six weeks. My other bag has the remaining ones. I wound up shipping home many of the original contents of my carry on luggage to make room for them. I did not want to risk shipping them home. So I am, instead, lugging them around - with lots of love and some occasionally painful groans.
So why am I am in Denver?
A couple of months ago, a friend of mine, Ayngel, suggested that I needed to get away. She really felt that my trip last year was healing, and that being in the daily stress since I have gotten back has not been beneficial. And, undoubtedly, she is more than right.
I was still on the road last year when I was trying to figure out how I was going to get back on the road again. In some ways, I have felt that my life has depended on it. I got back home and got caught up in surviving.
It has been a difficult year in so many ways, and the financial hole I find myself in has grown ever larger. How could I even begin to consider another trip?
Ayngel suggested that I come and visit her for a time. When I started to contemplate the idea, I spoke with Jean, the shaman I met on my trip last year, and have spoken to regularly since then. Jean suggested that I come and spend time with her, too.
A plan was hatched. 6 weeks away would be the plan. At the end of that time, I would visit the doctor and see where things stood. Last year when I did that, my tumor marker (which is a number that shows tumor protein activity) was lower than when I left. A lower number is what you want. It was definitely a good sign.
It was made even better by the fact that the doctors did not want me to go on the trip. They tried to scare the shit out of me (sorry if anyone is offended, but it sadly really fits how I felt) about going. So many were trying to tell me not to take the trip. Ayngel was one that was all for it. She was one of the very few. The rest, if I am going to be painfully honest, were annoying as hell.
When you are at the point that I got to, it takes every-freaking-thing to do what I did. I was scared. Terrified, even. Did I want to hear what others thought? Not really. Even support wasn't necessarily helpful; after all, what if I was about to lose a huge gamble?
The trip was about LIVING LIFE. It wasn't a vacation. It wasn't about me finding myself. It wasn't about me finding the meaning of life. It was "just" about putting one foot in front of the other, and just keeping moving.
I am fairly convinced it has a lot to do with why I am still here. There was a part of me that really felt like my life depended on that trip. I am really glad I listened.
I am also fairly convinced the doctors thought things would have gone much differently than they have. When I have asked the question, I have gotten, "well it is a slow growing tumor." There seems to be no "credit" for the myriad of things that I have been doing in the last year. Who really knows what is affecting me one way or another, but the fact is that I am still here, and - all things considered - there are moments I forget that cancer is lurking in the background.
There are times I almost rather not say that because I live in this weird void. I still very much need help, but if people think I am fine, they are not likely inclined to help. I want to be fine. In many ways I am "finer" than most think I probably have a "right" to be, but I am still dealing with something that can be seriously lethal.
On this trip, I met up with someone I "met" through Twitter. Last year we met in person for the first time. When I knew I'd be in his "neighborhood" again, I asked if he wanted to say "hey." We got together for dinner, and afterward I asked him if he thought he would see me again in person. He said, "Yes." It is one of those risky questions I sometimes ask people that aren't the easiest ones to see again. Who knows if they'll be honest or not? While I suspected he was being honest, there was a part of me that wondered.
Later I received an email from him which addressed that aspect and question. In some ways it was a bit hard to read. It speaks to what I KNOW others are thinking. It is one of the reasons I hate being so open about my health situation.
Am I going to to die? More than once recently someone told me that we are all going to die. What they did not know was that that is one of those things I have often said. The problem is that when cancer shows up, it uncomfortably removes the blinders that most people wear that have them ignoring the death aspect of life. It is almost like the person with cancer knows all that much better when their last day of life will be.
It is not exactly true. But it doesn't really matter. If people believe something to be true, does it matter if there is any validity to it, or not? Their actions speak the perceived truth, so it might as well be "true" in regard to what results.
I feel like I am all over the place right now. I am noticing that I have been writing about 30 minutes now, and my flight should be boarding in another 30. I need to re-pack the computer, and consider utilizing the rest room. The next flight is about 3 1/2 hours long.
I am really going to be glad to get home in some ways. But before I do, I will wind up seeing the docs first, and making some decisions about things in what feels like the dark. How do you ever know that you are doing the "right" thing with any kind of certainty?
I am not sure you ever can know.
There is so much more I want to talk about, but it seems it will have to wait for now.