The hospice nurse just left.
It was an intake interview. She asked me the normal questions that all of the nurses ask: allergies, medications, pain using that 1—10 smiley face scale you see in the doctor’s office. She listened to my heart – though I don’t think she could hear it sobbing – and measured my arm.
But she also talked to me about lifesaving measures they should take when and if my heart stops. She wondered if we could fit a bed in my living room if I get to the point of not being able to climb the stairs anymore. She’s ready to walk with us through the next (last?) steps of colon cancer.
On Wednesday morning when I went in for my weekly labs, I was nervous. I knew things weren’t great with this new medication we’d been using. Something about feeling like I had an alien baby sitting slightly above my uterus told me that changes were afoot. But I guess I didn’t expect him to say the thing he did say through teary red eyes inside that silly face shield. “This medicine is killing you faster than the cancer. You can’t take it anymore, and there aren’t any other options.”
No other options. The tumors have beaten the chemo. I guess I still could try John of God in Brazil, although a quick Google search tells me that his healing ministry has been interrupted by the sexual abuse charges he was arrested for. And there’s that cauliflower-based sour cream some vegan on a cross-country flight tried to turn me on to. There’s dandelion greens, apricot kernels, and essential oils.
But mostly, there are comfort measures, a good attitude, and people sending prayers, love, and light my way.
I’ve told a lot of people over the past few days. I’ve used a lot of tissues. I’ve hoped for the best and started to make some plans, spitting in the face of covid19 and booking a flight to see family in South Carolina. I’m exhausted. If I haven’t reached out to you, please know that it’s not a lack of love. It’s just too much. We’ll have weeks… maybe even months ahead of us to say what we need to say. Count yourself lucky that we won’t have to waste any of our time together with the part where I tell you I’m dying.
Let’s jump straight to the gin and tonic, the laughing, the planning, and the part where I tell you I’m coming back as a blue-haired panda. A panda because they’re adorable; blue hair so that you don’t confuse me with some other random panda walking down the street.
Let’s make this walk to the next place a long, slow one that matters to us both.
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