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Jay Lake
Date: 2011-10-23 07:50
Subject: [cancer] Not so morbid as all that
Security: Public
Tags:cancer, health, personal

Based on some of the emails and blog comments I received, I want to clear something up. I’m not actually being all that morbid right now. Though I have my feelings I’m not going to survive this cancer, I do not have anything like a terminal diagnosis, nor am I behaving as if my death is imminent. The remarks about having my own funeral were a ‘what if’, or perhaps a ‘when if’, remark.

As I said yesterday in a blog comment, the most likely next steps for me in this cancer are about an even split between a respite in which I can recover to normal health for a while as I wait to see if I am in remission, or another round of surgery and chemo much like the one I’m currently going through. The only things that would lead to a mortality diagnosis would be either a metastatic bloom, or a single-site metastasis in an inoperable location that proves unresponsive to my narrowing list of chemotherapy options. Neither of those things has happened, though of course either of them are possible.

I have a scan forthcoming on November 7th which will set the course of my life through next March or so. If I’m clean, then chemo wins up the weekend of December 16th, and I spend the winter recovering from its ravages. If I’m not clean, then we set the treatment plans for 2012, which would presumably be more surgery (if possible) and more chemo (almost for certain). As it happens, I have an inner, emotional conviction that I’m not clean, that a new metastasis is developing, but I recognize this as pessimism drawn from my current chemo-reduced mental and emotional state. Other than the iffiness of the CEA levels, which do not concern my oncology team, there is no medical evidence of this other than my own hard feelings.

So while in a very real sense I am experiencing morbid thoughts and feelings about cancer, I’m not planning my own funeral just yet. Making think-ahead notes, yes. But it’s not the reality I’m living in just now.

Originally published at jlake.com. You can comment here or there.

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User: scarlettina
Date: 2011-10-23 15:14 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
...it’s not the reality I’m living in just now.

Didn't think it was, but glad to hear it all the same. ::hug::
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2011-10-23 15:42 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Oops. Chemo brain strikes. Have fixed, thank you.
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User: deborahjross
Date: 2011-10-23 16:21 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I think you're right on target with thoughts/feelings about mortality. This is excruciatingly hard work, especially to share it as openly as you are.

fwiw, I have a somewhat-analogy about talking about surviving the murder of a family member. Denial may be like a feather-bed, but it will smother us in the long run.
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User: desperance
Date: 2011-10-23 22:55 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Aye that. I found that it's very easy to reach a state of mind after a passage of decades where still talking about it = self-indulgence, while moving on = not talking about it: which makes things easier, and less honest, and less true. It's not exactly denial, just not being in that place any more, where it's the thing you always talk about... And this is about to become long and inappropriate, so I should probably save it for a post of my own.
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User: deborahjross
Date: 2011-10-23 23:30 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Yep, people can become stuck, like a broken record. It's as important to let go as to delve, all in the appropriate time.
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