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Jay Lake
Date: 2010-01-03 07:48
Subject: [cancer] Sometimes you hit the wall, sometimes the wall hits you
Security: Public
Tags:calendula, california, cancer, child, family, health, personal
I've had a lovely holiday season. Right through Christmas I was at Nuevo Rancho Lake with the_child and my family, most of whom live in the immediate area. Boxing Day the_child and I flew to San Francisco, where we did all kinds of cool stuff with calendula_witch and markferrari. The kiddo flew home last Wednesday, after which calendula_witch and I headed for Sea Ranch to spend time with her aunt, the European-American artist Susan Dutton. A glorious drive back yesterday (watch for a photoblog post later), and then to a lovely party hosted by dinogrl and dave_gallaher. I go home today, see a couple of friends tomorrow, then shelly_rae comes to Nuevo Rancho Lake on Tuesday. calendula_witch comes on Thursday. I've been surrounded by family, love, friendship and holiday spirits galore.

All of that was lovely and fun, and except for a few melancholy moments, and one outburst of hysterical crying in the shower, I've managed not to be dwelling in cancerland for nearly two weeks.

On the way home from the party last night in the Witchmobile, that changed.

I hit the wall.

We were talking about this-and-that, as one does after a party, and the conversation drifted into how the near future will work. Sometimes when I'm stressing about cancer I get crazy in the head and start buying trouble in other parts of our life. "But what if this happens?" "You're going to do that, and it will make me upset." That sort of crap. The relationship calendula_witch and I share is very solid, but it's also very considered. We re-examine it constantly. (Sometimes we joke about having staff meetings, but that really isn't a bad description of the process.) The demands of our lifestyle require such continuous monitoring, but we're also both beneficiaries of long-term therapy, and such shared introspection is a jointly acquired lifetime habit.

All in all, this is a very good thing, but my crazy cancerbrain sometimes runs away with it. Displacement, stress, whatever. I'm hitting the chemo chair in five days, and last night the pleasantly insulating holiday spirit finally burned away like fog beneath the sun's bright-bladed rays. By the time we got back to the Witchnest, I was feeling burned out and depressed.

As calendula_witch pointed out last night, I have a history of severe depression. Her suggestion was that perhaps I have a horror of suffering, of returning to those pain channels carved so long ago on my psyche. That my denials and my anger and my refusals are me dancing at the edge of that dark valley. I don't know if she's precisely right or not, but I do know the suggestion made me angry, which is strongly indicative that she's hit on something important.

Last night I capped two weeks of goodness and quiet calm on the cancer front with an hour or two of anguish and idiocy. calendula_witch was loving and thoughtful and careful, and she got me turned around enough to go to sleep peacefully.

I hate it when this disease turns me into a fool, and it very much did last night. I am profoundly humbled and fortunate to be loved as well as I am, by her, by shelly_rae and markferrari and kenscholes, by my family and friends.

Thank you all.

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Kari Sperring
User: la_marquise_de_
Date: 2010-01-03 15:55 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I strongly suspect that calendula_witch is right. I'm another depressive: that horror of one more descending feels very believable.
You are astonishing, wherever your head is. All hail and so forth. And more good wishes.
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shelly_rae: Stone Lion
User: shelly_rae
Date: 2010-01-03 16:54 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Stone Lion
Jay--you sweet, funny man. You are loving, loved and beloved. That you so rarely stray into the valley of despair is testament of that. Mayhaps there was a little sorrow at a near parting in all that?

Much of my bouts with depression are wellsprings of grief, I mourn for what I've lost, even things I never had but wanted--even expected--to have. The weight of "what ifs" join "if onlys" to sink my spirit into the drink. But I'm a swimmer. Instead of drowning I reach to friends, to love. I stretch my body instead of despair--(walkies!). Yet I think an hour of grief is probably also what we need when we dance so close to this edge.

We are all grave people Jay. Ah, but such joy there is in reaching out from there. So pleased that calendula_witch steered you true.
Vale, valeo my dear.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-01-04 00:02 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Thank you, sweetie.
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User: martyn44
Date: 2010-01-03 17:17 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
As someone who has spent much too long being walked by the black dog all I can do is tell you what you already know. Cherish those friends and lovers, confide in them, trust in them. In your position there in nothing wrong in succumbing to the fear - it is just another sign of being a human being. They will help you through.
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Rhonda Parrish
User: rhondaparrish
Date: 2010-01-04 19:08 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
"Being walked by the black dog" is such a perfect description. It needs to be 'iconicized'.
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User: markbourne
Date: 2010-01-03 18:43 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Tho' it's belted you an' flayed you,
By the livin' Whatsits that made you,
You're a better man than I am, Joseph Lake.

--Kipling, original first draft before editor's notes
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User: desperance
Date: 2010-01-03 23:23 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
He should never have listened to his editor...
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User: e_bourne
Date: 2010-01-03 18:47 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
it would unreasonable to think that you will get through this without times of anger, grief, and despair. If, through the love and kindness of those around you, you can keep them down to a few hours here and there, you are a fortunate man indeed. The dark ooze must come out. You are not a fool, or at least no more or less than any other living person. We are all fools and fearful and doubting in the face of terrible events. It's not our strength that makes us heroes, it's living with our weaknesses.
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User: lotusice
Date: 2010-01-03 20:10 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Nothing but hugs and loves and good wishes.
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Away Above the Chimney Tops
User: boobirdsfly
Date: 2010-01-03 21:33 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Fear of suffering is a natural thing that comes with being human, no?
It sounds like you're managing so well really. Not to be too hard on yourself...

Do you practice meditation?
It seems like loving kindness meditation might help in these particularly frightful moments.... but really I have no idea what would help as I have no idea what being in your shoes would be like...

Happy New Year and best of luck with the new round of chemio.

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