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[cancer] The Door That Never Opens Twice - [cancer] The Door That Never Opens Twice - Lakeshore Page 2 — LiveJournal
An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2008-05-08 05:01
Subject: [cancer] The Door That Never Opens Twice
Security: Public
Location:Nuevo Rancho Lake
Mood:afraid and pretending not to b
Music:morning sounds
Tags:cancer, child, personal, portland
Well, I'm on clears today. Last night was my last normal meal for, oh, quite a while. So I organized a family dinner at De Nicola's.

lasirenadolce was back in Tacoma for some much-needed R&R, and kenscholes couldn't make it, but pretty much all the rest of the Portland family loop were there — the_child and her mother, Mom and Dad, tillyjane and her retrostepson S— (yes, we're a Southern family, why do you ask?), lillypond and her friend C—. as well as the Niece, my aunt M—, karindira and Youngest Daughter. We were a mob in the back room, the dinner culminating with a dramatically architectural cake baked by the_child. I believe there are photos somewhere, but I no got them.

Amazingly I am still sleeping well, though tonight will be the killer. I am waking up quite early, and as I said yesterday, my world feels very narrowed.

Anent the Big Fear, I'm down to two right now. There's the one which crosses over into rational fear, about playing an endless, downhill game of whack-a-mole with a metastatizing cancer. While's that's possible, to all clinical indications it seems unlikely. It still dogs me.

The other is my unreasoning fear of general anaesthetic. I'm not even too crazy about sedation. I have my pre-op anaesthesiology consult today, and I will be rational, thoughtful and attentive, but by tomorrow morning the snakes in my gut will be the size of a sewer pipe coming out of my rib cage. I felt this way before I had my septum fixed back in 1999, and was fine. Like I said, unreasoning fear. Big Fear.

Still, the true terror for me is not dying. Oddly, I seem to be able to accept that possibility, slight as it is, with an almost eerie calm. The true terror is dying without waking up first, and being unable to say good-bye. So to manage that part of the Big Fear, I am writing some sealed letters today, which I will make a ceremony of shredding, or possibly burning, when this is all over. Just so my voice can be heard by my daughter, my parents, everyone else whom I love, one last time should I somehow manage to pass through the Door That Never Opens Twice.

I am brave today. Tomorrow immediately before the surgery I shall almost certainly be a gibbering craven. The day after that I will still be alive, and I will have won. Someday soon we shall all laugh together.
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User: copperwise
Date: 2008-05-08 13:24 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Sending good thoughts up the hill tomorrow.
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Terri Osborne: celticmist-red/black knotwork heart
User: terri_osborne
Date: 2008-05-08 13:25 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:celticmist-red/black knotwork heart
You can beat the crap out of this, man. You can do it.
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User: etcet
Date: 2008-05-08 13:28 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Since I can't say it any better than Ray Spangler did:

"See you on the other side, Doctor Venkman."
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2008-05-08 13:32 (UTC)
Subject: Chuck Gordon

Fear. I'm kinda fear-impaired. I get curious instead. Drive my wife batty sometimes.

For my hip replacement, the docs let me opt for a spinal. I could've stayed awake and watched, and had intended to, actually, but they gave me a happy pill just before the op, and I snoozed through most of it.

Woke up watching an assistant doc waving somebody's leg around and wrapping it in bandages. Then I realized it was my leg ... weird feeling, that.

The retinal detachment repair was under general, and I wouldn't have had that any other way. It was the first time I'd _ever_ gotten nauseous after anesthetic, though. Tossed cookies for a day and a half. Some of that may have been the monocular view of the world as the repaired eyeball was covered with bandages.

I wasn't afraid of dying whilst under, but knew it was a possibility. I made sure all instructions for the wost-case eventuality were in place with my lawyer, family and friends, days before the op. And the last thing I did before they took me into the pre-op area was to tell my wife how much I loved her and how grateful I was for her. Everything else was moot at that point.

Remember to breathe, say what needs to be said before you go under, and we'll see you on the other side.

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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2008-05-08 13:35 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Chuck Gordon
Yah, I've done the worst-case stuff...doctor, lawyer, banker, insurance agent. Just so I feel better.

And thank you.
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Richard Parks
User: ogre_san
Date: 2008-05-08 13:35 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
May the shredding day come soon!
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(no subject) - (Anonymous)
Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2008-05-08 14:03 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I am very much looking forward to it.
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Michael Curry: alton
User: mcurry
Date: 2008-05-08 14:12 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I hope all of the preparations help you feel calmer going into tomorrow morning, and you manage to get some sleep tonight despite the prep and needing to be up super-early.

I've been under the general a couple of times (once for knee surgery and once just for having four wisdom teeth out), and other than the post-op nausea everything went just fine. I'm guessing though that no matter how many times people tell you stories like that, it won't have much of an effect on the Big Fear. Stupid thing.

I'll be thinking of you, and keeping my fingers crossed and all of that come tomorrow.
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User: bridget_coila
Date: 2008-05-08 14:37 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Thinking about you and hoping that all goes as well as possible...

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User: mevennen
Date: 2008-05-08 20:55 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
You're gonna wake up and be fine. Kick it in the slats! you not only can do it - you will.
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Twilight: EveryoneNeedsGramSometimes
User: twilight2000
Date: 2008-05-08 14:38 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Love and Strength and All Good Wishes both for managing the Fear and for the surgery.

We'll see you "the day after that", man ;>.
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User: sacchig
Date: 2008-05-08 14:40 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Thinking of you here in the far Northeast, too, and wishng you all the best.
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Jon Hansen
User: jonhansen
Date: 2008-05-08 14:48 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Will be thinking of you and your family, Jay.

And you will burn those letters.
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Josh Rountree
User: joshrountree
Date: 2008-05-08 14:51 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Hang in there, Jay. Good vibes headed your way.
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Greg van Eekhout
User: gregvaneekhout
Date: 2008-05-08 15:21 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'll be thinking about you and looking forward to hearing how you end up disposing of those letters.
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User: threeoutside
Date: 2008-05-08 15:34 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
"I am brave today. Tomorrow immediately before the surgery I shall almost certainly be a gibbering craven. The day after that I will still be alive, and I will have won. Someday soon we shall all laugh together."

Yup, that sounds about right. I even went through that before my carpal-tunnel syndrome surgery, dood. I'll keep my thoughts on you tomorrow, and that "someday" when we're laughing together will be MUCH sooner than you may fear. In fact, watch out for those stitches when you're laughing.

See you in July! *hugs*
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User: farmgirl1146
Date: 2008-05-08 15:45 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Good luck. I will see when you read again in Seattle.

I've had general anesthetic several times. (I have been stitched together like an old coat.) Only once did I feel "normal" afterward, and then I sort of missed the hazy, floaty feeling. However, I do share your fear of not waking up. I handle it by focusing on other things, like the anesthesiologist (who is my best friend during the operation, who one job only, to make sure I wake up), and all of the other action going on so that I can tell people about it later (it is fascinating). Like joycemocha you are in my prayers, as are your family and friends. I am one of the hordes of acquaintances who is glad for the privilege.
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