Monday, June 23, 2008

Bonfire of the Vanities

One of my last surviving vanities in the chemotherapy experience is my fingernails. I have nice hands. Nice nails. I don’t bite them. They grow out and I file them and I am very vain about their appearance. I rarely travel without an emery board. As promised, my nails have weakened in the last month and are now breaking. But they’re breaking low down on the nail—like on the bed. This is painful AND unsightly. I’m pissed. I feel pretty done with this whole experience lately. If I had lymphoma I’d be almost done by now! But no… And sitting through the rest of this interim maintenance period is killing me. I just want to get to the hard stuff so it can be over and I can start living my life as normally as possible. Does that sound unreasonable to you?

Lately I’ve been more afraid of cancer. This IV methotrexate isn’t bad, but it’s enough of a reminder that something is wrong that I’m dealing with another layer of acceptance. I have to really focus on my mantra of living every day for itself and not trying to project into the future where I will/won’t be alive. I realize this sounds incredibly melodramatic, but you don’t know—you just don’t. Some people’s bodies just want to die.

I’m also thinking a lot lately about breast cancer. There’s something about it that is pulling me in—maybe that it’s so female-centric, but I feel like this connection with the breast cancer folks. First of all, they have cancer, and secondly there’s something about the movement that feels more body-oriented. I don’t know. My mom’s family has a strong history of breast cancer. My aunt died a year ago of breast cancer (she was treated at Swedish as well so everyone recognizes our last name) and both my grandmother and her sister had it. There’s now a test you can do to find out if you have this gene… if you do, you have like an 87% of developing breast cancer. Do I want to be tested for this gene? Would I have the prophylactic double mastectomy? Could I deal with doing this again? Could I please stop obsessing about this? Maybe it’s time to start taking the Xanex.

What it’s really time for is work. I need to go to work. But like I said, I’m distracted. And all I want to do is go home to my distraction which is the third Golden Compass book. Annie P brought by a huge box of books the other week and there’s a lot good stuff in there. I read a good cancer narrative (about a breast cancer survivor) called The Red Devil and then yesterday when I was feeling a panic about not having enough to do with myself, I found the Amber Spy Glass. I can’t tell you how much of a sense of purpose the book gave. It was a reason to go back to bed and stay there which turned out to be very important because I just read, napped, and drank water. Fuck you, cold. I will kill you with my inactivity!

Alright. That’s enough for today.

3 comments:

Ladye said...

Hi, I went to beauty school and my speciality was nails. I was a total flop because I just wanted to concentrate on NATURAL NAILS, and everything was all about fake stuff. I know you have a lot on your mind, from reading your blog, but here is a nail tip for you: Get a little bit of olive oil, put it in a tiny travel container or a tiny pretty container. Rub a drop on each nail, massage it in the nail, buff it a bit with a piece of paper towel. Your nails will glow. Now, get yourself a beeswax chapstick type of thing, like the Burt Bees kind or similar. Carry it with you. Rub a bit on your nails and once again buff it in. Don't get your nails hot buffing, tho. This will make them really pretty while they are growing out. You can still have attractive nails despite breaking a few. Also consider cutting them all back a bit to give a similar look during this time. Good luck to you.

Bekah said...

God you make me laugh sometimes, 'if I had lymphoma i'd be done already!'

True that.

You'd totally be done. When I talk to the higher beings tonight, can I asked them WHY you got this cancer, and not lymphoma? Sorry, it makes me giggle.

Not that I should be laughing about cancer. Or your words, because, I've felt what you've felt before. Parts of me still do.

Seriously Jesse, I hardly know you, but you are such a strong force in this weak world. When you say 'sometimes bodies just want to die.'

I believe that's true as well. But I also believe the inner fire in you, is too much of a (the corny bekah would say 'fighter' but... can I pick a different word?) bitch, diva, hardcore girl. To allow that to happen.

you are a force, lovely.
and I look forward to reading your words, everyday.

ALL my Love,

Bekah

Anonymous said...

Haven't had a lot of online time recently, but had a chance to check in. Sorry to hear about the finger nails.
Peace,
Chris