As a play on and tribute to Harvey Pekar’s wonderful graphic novel, Our Cancer Year, this is the first of many posts about My Cancer Year, (ooh…. a new tag….). This is an updated version of a post I wrote in October 2010. It really goes to show you how consumed I was by the diagnosis and note the words I use, how unhelpful they are in accordance to this post. I like the progression and positivity of my thoughts on the subject that you can see at the end, as I detail why I choose to share this now:
My last night on Don Det I dreamed I had superpowers.
Well that may be a bit of a stretch… I dreamed that the cancer inside me, pulsing through my blood, made my hands red, bright red, and hot – hot enough to melt plastic and cause a wooden door to smoke, smolder, if I placed my hands near enough to it. It was like I could transfer my cancer to other things. And other people.
I was contagious. The caustic poison that was reshaping my blood, turning my cells into tiny suicide bombers, was leaking out of me.
Like many a super-villain, some sort of energy pulsated out of my hands. Blasts propelled from my palms, my bright red, throbbing palms. Palms that could, would, infect others. And I could not control this. Even when I tried to make my hands into fists, covering, hiding my palms, it would leak through.
Unsurprisingly, this dream woke me up in quite a fright. I was sweating and my hands were visibly red.
I just stared at them, full of disbelief. Scared.
It was amazingly hard to go back to sleep.
When I finally woke up again in the morning no other dreams came to mind. I still felt this one pumping through my veins with all its tainted blood. I looked at my hands nervously, knowing they would still be red, maybe like a fire truck or even past red red and they’d resemble those vibrantly bright pools of beet juice, left on a cutting board.
Thankfully they were not.
I was overtaken by fear that this dream was real. That it was coming true. I was sweating. But my hands were the color of the rest of my flesh and no warmer than the rest of my skin.
They did not itch.
As I sat there relieved I was not infectious, I conjured up a sense of dread to poison my mind as cancer was poisoning my lymphatic system and as it further poisoned my blood. I knew I was leaving this near paradise I had been quite taken with during my week stay (in fact, the 4000 islands in Laos is my single favorite spot in SE Asia – so far). I had done a lot to slip out of thinking about it during that time, but I could no longer avoid it. As it was on to Bangkok and the cancer center there and then on to Chiang Mai where I opted to undergo my treatment.
And while this dream faded as I reentered reality and had much of my lymph system removed, it continued to flare up again, just like those pulsating infectious bursts of energy from my palms, throughout my entire treatment. I had hoped it would disappear if I got an all clear on the cancer front, but much to my dismay a few weeks ago, it repopulated my dream space and woke me again.
So I’d say this is a pretty relevant subconscious interaction. One I guess I need to address, though to be honest with you, I keep grasping at what it means, but every time, my hands come back empty. So, any ideas here are both warmly welcomed and greatly appreciated.
I had initially intended to post this (a more present tense version, at least) well over a year ago, but became so wrapped up in the surgery, the treatment, and the ensuing writers block that is just seemed out of place, and then I realized that I did not want to invite this type of thinking back into my life. I thought I had escaped it, till as mentioned above, it reasserted itself into my dreams — no invitation required. So… I have opted to now put this out in the universe, but as a subversion of the invitation, as a release of it, to let go. Or, to take and expand on that felling of waking up relieved that it was not physical real into the present, making it my permanent reality.
I hereby declare myself free of the thinking that produced this.
I am giving this dream wings, letting it lift off and shift into the sky, to soar on its own elsewhere. I am disentangling myself from the fear this struck/stuck inside of me. I will no longer worry about infecting others with my negativity. I will however continue to send out metta every morning as I wind up my meditation sessions. That is something I am more than happy to infect the world with.