So last Monday I called my doctor. Yep that is all it took to make my day totally, utterly crap.
He confirmed exactly what had been suspected: I do in fact have cancer.
My journey to Laos the night before, with all the twisting and mountain climbing, sort of made me feel like I was running away from bad news. That I had outmaneuvered its clutches. That was just wishful thinking.
The news caught up with me, ensnared me, left me hanging from a tree. It brought tears to my eyes and despair to my face.
After I got the news, I left my guest house and walked abut 100km and met up with the mighty Mekong river. The mattress might have been crap and the room small, but the proximity to the Mekong for the price was fantastic.
I watched the sun shine though some clouds as it burrowed beneath the horizon. And just let out a full scale sobbing. It is what it is. But what it is sucks.
There is something about rivers. I know I need to be by water to feel right with the world, but it is far more rivers than oceans. Watching the water slowly drift by is something akin to paradise. The Mekong actually strolls, like a dandy on a promenade. Only today I felt overwhelmed by it all. Like it was my life passing before me. Like I was an immovable object and the waters floating by was everything, like trying to grasp a handful of air. Nothing. But it felt like this nothing was eroding me, from inside and out.
After I watched to sun dip below the horizon I went to find something to eat, as the last thing I ate was a crap sandwich at 6 am when they peeled us out of the bus and into the Volkswagen beetle sized bus — i am not joking, the wheelbase size is the exact same. Thirteen people in this for 20KM is god awful.
I found a charming little Frenchified Laos place and ordered a noodle dish. And a bottle of wine. Here is where I proceeded to get drunk. Add in the whiskey a bit later and here is where I got hammered.
I regretted about the first 30 sips, thinking about my kidneys… But it plugged my tears. And by the time I was shaking out every last drop of wine from the bottle I had near forgotten the shit-show Monday I was having.
Lets just say Tuesday morning was AWFUL. Reality plus an epic hangover, something I have avoided for nearly five years. That night I was sure drinking would make it better, but… yeah… not so much.
Why does this feel finite, like it is just not worth fighting? But the Lupus and kidney failure seemed something to take egregious arms against? Ever since I heard that doctor say cancer, it is like someone was playing Jenga with me, only every time s/he removed a chunk of me, it was just gone – no trying to placate reality by putting it back on top, in a desire to balance reality with a game of wooden blocks.
But I will fight, with everything I have left. I even decided that if they find cancer in my spinal column, which they say would make it incurable, I will still fight. They also told me my GFR numbers would never climb. They did. I proved them wrong. And I hope to again, if it comes to that.
I am not ready to die, now or in the near future. But still it feels finite. Or maybe I have finally run into the place where I that sense of adolescent immortality has worn off entirely. Or, you know I am rationalizing again.
This morning I woke with a phrase in my mind. It warmed me greatly, nearly as much as the Mekong has soothed me this past week: “Cancer, you will not claim me.” And I finally started to feel my metaphorical fingers wrap around the bastard cancer’s neck.