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[cancer] The edges in my head - Lakeshore — LiveJournal
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Jay Lake
Date: 2009-06-14 19:17
Subject: [cancer] The edges in my head
Security: Public
Tags:calendula, cancer, child, family, personal
I promised an update on the emotional journey of the past week or two, and so, here it is.

First of all, the big secret which should surprise no one. I am not brave. I am not fearless. I am an arrant, craven coward who loves my life beyond reason. The measured, thoughtful responses you've seen from about my cancer have been real, but they haven't been the whole story by a long shot.

I spent over an hour last night in calendula_witch's arms, sobbing. I cycle through outbursts of fear, grief and rage. Though in truth, most of the time I'm fine, and I can even go a day or two at a time without thinking of it. Much.

No matter what this is, it's very early stage. Even at the worst case, my personal numbers are much better than the medical statistics. As my mother said, I've never been at the center of the bell curve in my life, why would I start now? And we're a long way from worst case. The lung spot is just as likely to be a scar. The lymph activity could have been a transient infection. The liver is the most difficult to explain away, but it's also not fuly confirmed.

If I come out of this clean, I'm going to be embarrassed as hell. But embarrassed beats the hot snot out of surgery and chemo. By the same token, surgery and chemo beat the burning bile out of continuing down the cancer road untreated.

So where have I been? In some dark places and some very bright ones. My fundamental nature is quite positive. I can go pretty 'splat', but I always bounce back up. I cope by looking over the darkest edges, then walking back from there. These edges are pretty damned dark. But the love of my family and friends, of the_child and calendula_witch, of my virtual community and total strangers: that carries me a long way.

Maybe this will come out clean now, all turn into a combination of scanning errors and the mighty power of coincidence. I hope for that, but I can't afford to think it, to plan for it. That's not where the main chance lies right now. I have to look ahead and sort through what will happen next.

In other words, a short and winding road with a lot of weird emotional weather, but some very bright lights and brilliant hearts serving as my guide.

Originally published at jlake.com.

Post A Comment | 27 Comments | | Link

User: joycemocha
Date: 2009-06-15 03:35 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Hugs and support, as needed.
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User: chessdev
Date: 2009-06-15 03:57 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I dont have any words of wisdom to offer - but I am hoping for the best for you and appreciate you're jumping on this early.

Good luck... and may everything work out for you on this.
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Karen, aka Ana Lake, ska Aine inghean Cathal
User: summers_place
Date: 2009-06-15 04:16 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Sending Good Thoughts your way.
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Peter Hollo
User: frogworth
Date: 2009-06-15 04:56 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Dear Jay,
Whatever you do, don't be embarrassed in the slightest if it turns out to be not as bad as you fear. The fear is real and justified and all our love and support is (as you know) not predicated on your continued suffering. (Although we love to slaver over a whimpering... no wait, wrong thread.)

Anyway, am finally reading the excellent Oregon stories in The River Knows Its Own and getting impatient to be there! November's getting closer all the time.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2009-06-15 11:47 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
The Northwest will be very glad to see you!
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User: the_blue_fenix
Date: 2009-06-15 13:04 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Wishing you much embarrassment. And hugs either way.

I've only met you briefly a couple of times in person, but the guy I know through LJ is a neat human being. Thinking of you every day.
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User: mmegaera
Date: 2009-06-15 05:10 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I hope you come out of this absolutely crimson with embarrassment.

I've never thought of being embarrassed as a best-case scenario before...
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User: farmgirl1146
Date: 2009-06-15 05:47 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keep doing what you're doing. Bravery is not the absence of fear, it is doing what needs to be done through the fear. You are a brave man.
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kyle cassidy
User: kylecassidy
Date: 2009-06-15 05:49 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
i know it probably means nothing and it certainly does no good -- but i can feel this like a punch in the stomach. and i hope for the right end of the bell curve for you -- whatever good that does.
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User: biomekanic
Date: 2009-06-15 06:03 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Shit man, your ass has tried to kill you.

Speaking as someone who's own body is out to get him, you can't be to careful with these things.

There was a period a few years back when my doctor figured that I had a pituitary tumor, it would explain a lot. One very expensive MRI later, it turned out no tumor. But maybe it's MS so I'm due next year for another MRI (hopefully I'll have insurance by then so I can afford to get one).

Maybe I'm out of line here, but if it turns out to be much ado about nothing, that's to be celebrated and nothing to be embarrased about.
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paulcarp: pic#67230600
User: paulcarp
Date: 2009-06-15 06:23 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Jay, I am so totally grabbing your butt the next time I see you. Julie wants to be let off the hook.

I'm scared for you. I'm scared that there will come a day where you're still writing, and I'm not around to read it. Or, even more selfishly, that you aren't around to write it.

I love your honesty about everything. I hope I find that in me sometime. See you soon, and for a long, long time.
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The NewroticGirl
User: newroticgirl
Date: 2009-06-15 06:32 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Nothin but love here.

(And the lesbian nun jokes are raging in this household thanks to you...)
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Judith Agrathea
User: agrathea
Date: 2009-06-15 06:48 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I think being honest about your vulnerability is one of the best ways to show your strength. (Of course, I struggle with my own ability to be vulnerable, so am not one to talk.) But I guarantee none of us will be judging you for the emotions that are naturally running through you at this time, even if all goes well and your tears turn out to be unnecessary. We will be celebrating at your side, and still grateful for your willingness to be vulnerable with us while you felt unsteady. So don't judge yourself harshly.

I know I don't post much on LJ, but I do keep tabs when I can. I think you have an amazing resilience and strength that goes even deeper than you know. And you give so much to others by being so honest and open about your experiences. All I can do is hope that some amazing good comes out of your terrible experience. I have had my own experiences with test results whose meanings shift and morph (really minor in comparison), and I just hope that the final outcome of your situation is that it all pans out to be a false alarm. And if its not, I do believe, in my own optimistic way, that you are going to find a way through all of this that will be far better than the worst you (or any of us) could fear.

I can't understand the fear you are facing right now, but my heart is with you through it. What is amazing is that you have found a way to become stronger through all of this. I'm sure we'd all pick kinder battles if we could, but ultimately you have made the most of what was handed to you.

Of course, I don't think I have to tell you that. But I want you to know that I notice it. I hope if I find myself in similar circumstances that I can find myself half as courageous.
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Grant Kruger
User: thirdworld
Date: 2009-06-15 07:18 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I hope I never go through what you're going through. I doubt I'd be any braver or react any differently. You're in my thoughts. I very much want you to get through all this, unscathed would be all the better. I'm here, if you need me.
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User: catsparx
Date: 2009-06-15 08:25 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
no one with your taste in socks and shirts can ever claim to fear public embarrassment!!!

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User: supersniffles
Date: 2009-06-15 08:53 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Dear Jay,
We've only met once or twice at conventions but I am getting an amazing look at what look at what goes through the mind of someone facing this trial. Your use of language is amazing. Thank you for not hiding away from us as you deal with this.
Myself and all of my friends are wishing you the best in this.
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Kari Sperring
User: la_marquise_de_
Date: 2009-06-15 09:05 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Best wishes. If it will not offend you, I'll light candles for you.
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User: musingaloud
Date: 2009-06-15 12:45 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Lead on, O my captain!
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User: kara_gnome
Date: 2009-06-15 12:59 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I think that anyone facing his own mortality is in fear, and if he says he's not, I'd guess he's lying. Or in denial or some other catch phrase.

Let's just say that if you're pushed into an 'embarrassed as hell' situation, boy, will there be a lot of happy people on this side! :D
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REudaly: good hands
User: reudaly
Date: 2009-06-15 13:12 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:good hands
I'm not reading the comments, because I don't care if I'm #19 in saying, "I hope you're embarrassed." I PRAY you're embarrassed. You don't know how much I want you to be embarrassed.

Because no one ever died of being embarrassed. And overreacting? I don't think this realm there is such a thing.

Here's praying you're clean and embarrassed, because the alternatives seriously suck.
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User: jack_kincaid
Date: 2009-06-15 15:47 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It doesn't require fearlessness or a lack of love for your life to be brave, only the belief in something worth fighting for as well as appreciating the gift of life enough to live it while you have it and use it to make whatever difference you can. We all have strength and courage inside us. Too often we lock it away for fear of running out when we really need it, for the want of an arsenal if things take a turn for the very worst, but these things aren't depleted like ammunition. The supply grows with use. The more you use of it, the more you have of it.

No matter what happens, be strong.

Live. Fight.

Good luck to you, Mister Lake. You're in my thoughts.
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YM: Kitty and Butterfly
User: belluthien
Date: 2009-06-15 16:34 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Kitty and Butterfly
I'm someone who has been following your journey here for a while now, lurking. But I wanted to come out and say I'm very much hoping you come out clean. Just wanted you to know; this stranger is rooting for you.
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User: lauriemann
Date: 2009-06-15 20:05 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
There's such a difference between fighting hard (which you do all the time) and being utterly fearless (which almost no one expects you to be). Fighting is critical. And don't be embarrassed if it turns out to be nothing. That would make the rest of us very happy.
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Rhonda Parrish
User: rhondaparrish
Date: 2009-06-15 20:08 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
As is often the case, I read this post, I processed it and my heart went out to you, your friends and your family, yet I lack anything coherent to say as a comment. I did want you to know I'm here and I'm reading -- even if once I'm done reading I lack words to leave as a comment. You are all often in my thoughts.

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Wendy S. Delmater: looking up
User: safewrite
Date: 2009-06-15 23:24 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:looking up
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User: jetse
Date: 2009-06-16 19:11 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)

Anybody who would *not* break down sometimes under this strain would be inhuman.

You, my friend, are but all too human.

Strength, hugs and good luck in the road ahead.
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