I Deny the Denial

First off, does R. Kelly really have a song about hiding in a closet, or is he just playing a big prank on me? Not sure why he would, other than I like Me First & the Gimme Gimmes covering his music more than him singing it.

On to the post.

So I realized today that I’m not really sure how my mind is accepting/treating my cancer. I’ll explain.

Today as I’m leaving work, one of the security guards mentioned my recent string of absences, including yesterday’s. “Get hit with a cold?” she asked. “Nope, it’s just cancer.”

Enter brief and hurried explanation of medical history.

As I left the building, it occurred to me that my cancer is kind of like a birthday in my mind. And now I’ve just pissed off the people with the serious cancers. Hear me out here. think about when your birthday hits. Do you really feel a year older? Heck, if it weren’t for the people around me keeping track, I’d probably forget to notice my birthday happened.

I may turn a year older each year, but I don’t feel older and it doesn’t occur to me that I’m indeed 34 rather than 33. or 25. If I try to lift something heavy or exercise too vigorously (i.e. have to look for the remote more than twice in one day), I realize that I’m 34, maybe even 50.

Cancer is the same way to me. Unless I’m trying to do something that my body’s too weak to do in its current state, it generally doesn’t occur to me that I have cancer. People will ask me how I’m doing with that concerned “I have to ask him because he has CANCER” look on their face, and until they ask me I think I’m fine. Then I look at their face and think “Oh yeah, I have cancer. In that case, I guess I’m not doing so hot.”

I think there are a couple of main reasons for my mind working this way:

1) Regardless of how smart I may be, my brain itself is an idiot with bad wiring and no manufacturer’s warranty.
2) Due to the aforementioned miswiring, a lot of the low-level maintenance stuff gets overlooked like “I need to sit down and rest a bit and that’s okay because I’m poisoning my body with chemo.”
3) I went through almost two years’ worth of symptoms before they found out what was screwing with my body. Symptoms which went away almost immediately after beginning chemotherapy. After what I’ve been through before the diagnosis, everything after the diagnosis is cake.
4) I have the good cancer. Let’s face it, there are a lot of people out there who have a lot worse happening to them than I do, and I’m constantly terrified of pissing them off by lumping myself in with them. Hodgkin’s is a lightweight. My body’s already chewed up and spit most of it out and is looking around for its next lunch.
5) Despite having nine more treatments to go, I feel fine most of the time. The only times I really feel like a cancer patient are the couple of days following a chemo treatment, especially after the Neulasta.

So five isn’t “a couple.” Gimme a break – I have cancer.

In the real world status update, I’ve been hurting a lot the past couple (this time meaning “three or so”) days, which would appear to mostly be from the Neulasta. Major spinal-type pain (think nerves grating between bone) along with the previously-experienced SI joint pain. Yesterday was especially horrid, but I’m good and doped up now.