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.