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[cancer] The Door That Never Opens Twice - [cancer] The Door That Never Opens Twice - Lakeshore Page 4 — LiveJournal
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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: ex_kaz_maho
Date: 2008-05-08 20:02 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
When my mum had her surgery for cancer two years ago, she had the same fear of general anaesthetic. She did the same as you're going to - wrote letters to her loved ones to be opened "if..."

I still don't know what was in my letter, and she is doing very well now. Healthy and happy and looking forward to a holiday later this month.

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User: corvida
Date: 2008-05-08 20:44 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Best wishes, Jay. If something goes wrong, we'll dress in a loud shirt and some tie-dye socks. If it doesn't we'll still do it.
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User: leela_cat
Date: 2008-05-09 00:04 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Hmm... being brave does not mean you can't be afraid, a gibbering craven even.

Tomorrow, I'll be thinking of you and wishing I had a crazy shirt to wear in solidarity.
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dandyfunk: Brain Guy2
User: dandyfunk
Date: 2008-05-09 01:34 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Brain Guy2
good luck.
Try the clears ice cold and use a straw!
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User: mmegaera
Date: 2008-05-09 02:17 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
The best of wishes, Jay. I had my first surgery two years ago at the ripe old age of 46. It scared the bejeebies out of me. And, while taking a chunk of drywall calcium the size of a shooter marble out of my shoulder tendons does not compare, my bet is that the anesthesia will wind up as one of those things that make you wonder why on earth you were so worried about it.

Anyway, that last clause is my wish for you. Well, and that you only have to whack the cancer mole once.
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User: kmckiernan
Date: 2008-05-09 02:50 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Wow, are you ever amazing, Jay. You are in the best of hands up there on the hill. That cancer is going down, man! And when your treatment is complete, you will be among great company as a cancer survivor.

I'm thinking of you and your loved ones, sending much positive energy your way and hoping for your quick recovery.
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User: carnwrite
Date: 2008-05-09 02:50 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I hope it all goes well. All the best!
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Shalanna: cupcakes
User: shalanna
Date: 2008-05-09 03:32 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I don't know why none of the other brilliant geniuses here hasn't mentioned this, BUT nowadays they just DON'T let the anaesthesia zap you . . . it is VERY RARE. EVERYONE worries, but it is NOT COMMON AT ALL. It just doesn't happen. So it won't.

I was also worried before my first time going under that I would have dreams or whatever, but my aunt promised that it's like you're counting backwards and you go "100 . . .99 . . . *zonk*" and then they're telling you to take deep breaths and you're in recovery. The time won't even pass for you. The ones who'll suffer are the people in the surgical waiting room who are pacing and watching "Jeopardy!" or CNN and trying to be calm until the doctor comes out. Really, it's not as big a deal as it may seem right now. Think of how many hundreds of people are having surgery right now across the world!

Ask for an M. D. anaesthesiologist instead of a nurse-anesthetist; we always have, and it makes us feel better that "this is a real doctor" and so forth. They should be able to answer any of your questions. I've never been nauseated after any surgery, but rather than abdominal incisions what I've had is brain surgery twice and knee surgery (shattered my kneecap into three pieces and had to have it wired together) once and a correction of urethral stenosis once . . . and never again, I say!! But this is to say that you should not expect to be nauseated, even with abdominal surgery. I wasn't at all, nor was my aunt! Just don't let them feed you for a couple of hours after you wake up . . . maybe some broth or jello. Hold crushed ice in your mouth, because it'll probably be pretty dry, but you don't want to drink water right away, trust me--first crushed ice, then 7-UP. The staff'll be extra careful with you regarding getting nauseated because it's your digestive tract they're messing with.

But anyway, IT'S GONNA BE OK. Right now you're looking down into that yawning chasm. But guess what is the most important marker about people surviving stuff? Their determination to live! As long as you have that, it's a cinch!

Will be praying for you and yours. It's gonna be OK!
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Patrick Swenson
User: tbclone47
Date: 2008-05-09 07:13 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Thoughts with you, Jay. You are brave, period. See you soon.
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User: jetse
Date: 2008-05-09 12:58 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keeping my fingers crossed for you. Take care!
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