The Cancer Diaries


vrn

Death may be the greatest of all human blessings. ~Socrates

Not feeling you right now Socrates. By no means am I arrogant enough to say, I’ve got this, it’s not my time. Maybe it is. It’s a weird position to be in, knowing you have to both be prepared that death is a possibility, and at the same time have to fight my ass off to survive. I hesitate to start a blog series based on this subject, I am not out to depress friends and family, but this is a recovery blog at its core, that every once and a while drifts from that center.

My diagnosis is that I have a chondrosarcoma that has metastasized to my bones and lungs. I spent 10 days in the hospital to find this out, and have spent the past few days being referred by my referrals. I’ve finally landed at the doorstep of a University of Miami orthopedic oncologist. UM is the best around, so I am excited and trust this is whose hands I am supposed to end up. What’s hard for me to get out of my head is the doctor who told me “It’s bad.”

Do it big or go home. My medical background is a curse right now. There’s a line in my first memoir, Long Sleeved Summers, that says something like, I wish I had bone cancer so that I could be an acceptable junkie. Come on God? Really? Was there a genie present when I wrote those words? What about my other two wishes? For those who don’t know bone cancer pain sucks. It’s a slow, progressively shitty ride to the end.

So the great debate, some people will not welcome me when I pick up 18 months, because a medical professional has me on narcotics. The doctor is well aware I am an addict. I am not a martyr. I am not just going to writhe in pain. I can barely sit up or lie down without them. I take them as prescribed and I am not looking for needles or crushing them up. Don’t get me wrong, it awakens those thoughts, because what’s the point right?

Wrong. Any fight is winnable, unless you throw in the towel, give up by giving in in this case. Heroin has always wanted to kill me, and circumstances went that it took the rather slow approach. 17 years is a long relationship, to spend with someone who seemingly does so much for you, some of you get that. When you get it though, that she sucks all your innate goodness, that she disconnects you from God, it’s not worth throwing that away.

There’s so much running through my head, quiet moments when I cry, let my guard down and understand life’s countdown just got a little nearer than is comfortable. There’s moments of resolve, that I’m too young for this shit, that if anything, I am a survivor. Then there’s the peaceful balance, what will be will be. That if I stay in that fit spiritual condition that book talks about, I won’t wast my time, whatever it is, that I will continue doing what I can to help the next human being. It’s not about me and my problems, it’s about altruism. I sat in my own shit for too many years, and I’m not about to do it now over something that is ultimately in God’s hands.

He has my back. No matter the outcome, he’s got me. That’s my comfort. I don’t think there is anything even close to that level of solace available, everything in its right place. Oh, and in case he forgets me, which he never has, I’ve got hundreds of people reminding him, and for all of that, I am thankful.

Peace & Love,
-MFJ

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