bleak: nighttime.

i am not inspiration porn, you know. i don’t exist to inspire others to live an authentic life in their bodies without cancer. i don’t exist to make other people feel better about their lives without cancer.

my insecurity around my writing is pretty intense at times. i’d gone from thinking it some worthless boring thing i did for my own need, my own really powerful need to get things out somehow, to actually putting ego into it, thinking it good. that doesn’t help, you know? i’m better off thinking of it as a process, rather than something to feel Good about.

sometimes, i read through things written by people that, for some unknown reason, make me feel completely rotten about myself. not people i know, or have met – just random twitter accounts, random blogs. what is it about these people i’ve never met and their words that make me feel hollow and empty? it makes me feel dull and boring and without any sort of solid reason to bother writing. this reminds me as always that the things we think will make us feel as though we have achieved something often do not. there’s that moment of intense gratification, of somehow, having achieved this goal, being realer, more solid, more meaningful. and then the bar lifts. the meaning now comes from something higher, or something indefinable.

i shouldn’t worry about my writing. if i am looking for some sort of vindication, some sort of goal reached, i actually reached my total dream goal that i never even aimed for: i am a bit of a silly fangirl about literary journals, and i had something published in my favourite journal. i stand next to the writers i love most in Australian literature, dim and quiet by their side. and this is fantastic. i did good. other things i feel should fill me with meaning are not things that will.

why do i feel like this when i have friends that love me, respect me, and support me? what is it that comes out like some fog, and makes me feel invisible? this is not just cancer speaking. it is general.

my surgery is in two weeks and two days. it is over 9 months since diagnosis.

there is a 5% chance i will die on the table. this should be comforting. but i was told there was a 99.9% chance it wasn’t cancer. i was told it could not be cancer. my GI doctor had never, in 40 years of practice, seen anything like the mets in my liver. approximately 4% of people with inoperable mets at the beginning of chemotherapy have the chemo work well enough to allow them to become eligible for surgery. i fell in there too. it is very rare for someone to have such a good response to chemotherapy. it is rare, incredibly rare, that a 30 year old would have asymptomatic stage IV rectal cancer. 4% of lung mets are cavitated. mine are. i wasn’t supposed to lose my hair. i did.

some of these things are horrible. some of these things are why i am alive. and almost nothing that has happened since diagnosis is the normal thing to happen. i am ‘special’, ‘unique’, ‘different’. i am mostly an anomaly. that 5% looms over me. it feels likely.

my abdomen is going to be cut open, scalpel sharp, under muscle and fat and skin. it is a large cut like the mercedes benz symbol. i like markings on my skin. the scar doesn’t bother me. the one effected lymph node that showed up will be removed, and others as well. scalpels out. my blood will pool out, and i will have it pumped back in, or replaced with donor blood. there are major arteries around the tumour. there is no way of telling how bad it is until he reveals my organs and pulls at them to see what sticks. my life is resting there, in sector 1 of my liver, a 5cm tumour embedded in the arteries that lead in and arch off into the left and right lobes.

i have had a few sharp stabbing pains in my right side in the last few days. just the odd one, here and there. i am terrified of that pain, of that needle running through me white sharpness. i don’t know what it means, and my body is a wonderland, my body is a nightmare, and i am not your inspiration, i am just probably going to die in the next few years if i make it through those 8 hours of surgery. oh he can make me live longer, but longer is not quantifiable. my life is not quantifiable.


About elizabeth

various things.
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9 Responses to bleak: nighttime.

  1. Well I for one hope and pray you don’t fall into the 5% on this one. I love you sweetie xoxo

  2. katiedavis says:

    Your *writing* is inspirational, with its perfectly-matched-to-the-emotion cadence and its smack-you-in-the-chest power. You might not want to be anyone’s inspiration for your way of living or the way you have dealt with your diagnosis and treatment, but your writing *is* inspirational, as writing. Just writing. Not writing about cancer or anything else in particular. Just for the words and the way you put them together.

    • veritas says:

      i think people being inspired to do things is awesome ! it’s just the inspiration porn thing that gets me. i’m not super great at putting it into words.

      • katiedavis says:

        No, no, I think I understand what you mean. I just wanted you to know that your writing is inspiring. It makes me desperately want to carve out writing time that isn’t slated for thesis or journal articles or learning materials. I just want to string words into beautiful shapes but… Time. And words. I feel like at the end of the day I’ve used up my quota. For now I’ll just keep reading yours.

  3. Jackie Hall says:

    You may not think you’re inspirational…. I’m not the only one that thinks you are…..I’ve learned so much from you over the past nine months….Elizabeth, you have made a difference to my life, I can’t really explain how, I don’t have the words..and there are so many different aspects I wouldn’t know where to start…I don’t comment much, somehow I feel intrusive…maybe because I don’t know you personally. I thank you for sharing such raw honesty about your feelings about cancer, bipolar, your love of books, gardening, spinning, and yes I just realised, this is your blog, not mine!!!! All the best to you Elizabeth, I would love to have long chats with you about “any and everything” I love the way your mind operates..I feel like I know you! Please keep writing, please keep being rare, please keep being special, please keep being you. Biggest of hugs xoxoxo

    • veritas says:

      thank you so much. ❤ it's ok to comment – it's not intrusive at all. one of the great things about blogs is getting to know people you don't know. i've got this tumblr i've followed for 5 years now – never met the woman who runs it, but i feel like we're almost friends!

  4. greenspace01 says:

    Your writing is fab. I want to write like you (except with my voice), to write as well, as beautifully, and as often as you do.
    I want you to survive the surgery, because you are a cool person, and all the people who love you would be gutted by your death, and also I want you to keep blogging, so I can keep reading…

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