Saturday, April 09, 2016

Cleardom

Cleardom is a word I just invented to express being free from the fog!   It is a glorious feeling to be fog-free!   And it is happening much more frequently or, more to the point, the fog sets in a lot less often now.   I average about 2 foggy days per week which ain't bad at all.   I can actually function in one of those two days too!   It is awesome.   I can even explain some of the fog now better.

So I wake up in a dream state.  Often I even confuse events from my dreams with things that actually happened because memories feel the same as dreams.   Usually this puts me in a good mood as I have good dreams up until the moment I realize it was just a dream and didn't happen.  This realization tends to suddenly shift my mood to complete disappointment and, to be honest, fear that other things I remember were simply dreams as well.   Once in a while this fear is crippling and I will stay home all day to kind of have control over my surroundings.   It isn't as dramatic as I just realized I made it sound, but I am a writer so indulge me.    It isn't fun, but isn't life-shattering either.  It is just confusing and annoying.

I have put myself on a list at the Cancer Group to get a one-on-one set of sessions started to help me relearn how to live.   See, that is the worst aspect of cancer- it lingers for so long that you forget how to live.  

It takes on average two years to go through that first diagnosis to your final surgery should all go well.   This does not include that time prior to that first diagnosis where you are in Hell, but trying to convince yourself it isn't Hell, but just stress.   Once diagnosed, you learn what Hell is and you find out you can overcome Hell.   The euphoria that creates tends to last about another 6 months.   You are now 2 1/2 years out of first diagnosis and think it is time for you to get back to who you were, but you are not done yet.   The euphoria shifts to nihilism.

The randomness of your disease, the fact that you now notice how spread out it is and how it just tends to effect anyone at any time without warning, the fact those who had so much to live for didn't and those who didn't did, the lack of finding that one thing you can stop doing which would guarantee you won't get it again, the stories of people who thought they were free just to find out they weren't, the horror stories of group...all of this adds up and you tend to start to think life has no purpose and there is nothing you can do to hold on to it.   At first, this is a euphoric nihilism as you feel free from the burdens of caring, but that euphoria tends to end quickly as you realize you are stuck in a pointless cycle and have no idea why you fought so hard to hold on to it.   It was at this point the chemo-brain kicked in full scale some 2 3/4 a year out of being first diagnosed.

Actually, to be fair, it was at this point I became aware of chemo-brain.   I probably had it long before and, if you will excuse the joke, forgot I was forgetting things.   Either way, the chemo-brain helps you get past what you went through, but leaves you unattached to life as you have no new memories and all things we do, we do for the memories.   Without memories, you have not lived.

I don't mean to be bleak...this is a positive post, so let's get to it- the fog is clearing now!   I am remembering things mostly now.   I space out from time to time and I do get hazy, but it is a haze and not a fog- I can sort of make my way through it and it is now usually a few hours instead of a day or two.  Progress!   I just have to remember that it took me years to develop the cancer, so it is going to take me even more years to purge it from me.   It is a process that will take time and I should be thankful the chemo-brain guarantees I will not remember most of the struggle, but will remember the outcome!

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

First Political Post in Quite Some Time- Get Used to Them

So I support Sanders.   I should get that out of the way now.   Not only do I support Sanders, but I oppose Clinton.   Yes, she has experience, but experience is only as valuable as the lessons you learn from it and her history shows she only learns how to better manipulate and not that she was wrong.  See Iraq followed by Libya followed by Syria followed by her attempts to get us involved in the Ukraine as a prime example of her hubris.   This is not why I have decided to lay finger on keyboard however...

Sanders is being attacked right now for not supporting the Sandy Hook victim families from suing the gun makers and I agree with him in all regards.   First- you can't punish someone for legally selling something.  Second- you can't punish an industry for making a properly working item that was used in a criminal way by the purchaser.   Third- you can't use emotion to ignore existing law if we are a nation of laws.   Let me break it down further.


First- you can't punish someone for legally selling something.    Guns like those used in the Sandy Hook tragedy are legal regrettably.   Sanders did what he could to overturn that, but he failed and those guns are legal in America to own.   The gun maker therefore did nothing legally wrong in making, designing, or selling said weapon.

Second-    you can't punish an industry for making a properly working item that was used in a criminal way by the purchaser.   Do you hold Budweiser accountable for a drunk driver?   Do you hold the gas company that sold the driver fuel responsible?   Of course not, so why gun makers?  I know the argument the Sandy Hook families are using- that they marketed a military weapon for public use thus encouraging this type of behavior; that is a quite a stretch.   Budweiser pretty much advertises for you to get drunk on their product, but again it is the user of the product to blame of overindulgence and the aftermath of that indulgence.   Why are gun makers different?

Third- you can't use emotion to ignore existing law if we are a nation of laws.    I feel for these families, I really do.   I would probably react the exact same way if I were one of them, but this is the very reason victims don't sit on juries- laws are not determined valid or not  based on emotional response.   What feels good to do could create a set of circumstances where we once again find the path to Hell was paved in good intent.

Sanders voted against the law allowing guns like the AR-15 to be sold and has said repeatedly he would vote against those guns again and again.   He wants them off the streets as much as anyone else does, but he also has respect for our nation and our system of government.   One cannot browbeat another into their way.  If you hate a law, work on changing it.  

The Constitution has a method for any and all laws to be altered or removed.   It is difficult and it was designed to be to protect our nation from temporary emotional whims, but it can be done.   You will need allies to do it, so you probably shouldn't falsely attack someone on your side before you succeed in your campaign.   Sanders agrees with you and has the D- from the NRA to prove it.   It is laughable to pretend  he is somehow a gun lover laughing over the bodies of dead children and shame on the media for propping up that impression.


Saturday, April 02, 2016

Setting a Record Straight For Myself

This is a post for me because my memory sucks and I don't want this to fade into a place where I rely on others to remember the ifs, ands, and whys.   It is of no importance to really anyone who doesn't blog where I used to and something  I am not sharing with that blog.   It is for me.

There was a story on that blog prior to Good Friday about a poor kidnapped priest and the report said ISIS was planning to crucify him on Good Friday.   Now I read a lot of news, A LOT OF NEWS, and I tend to research most stories for other sources before I believe or disbelieve anything, so I Googled this priest and didn't find his name mentioned on any real news sites...well, mainstream news sites; there are no real news sites, but that is for a different rant.   The sources for this story were all based on an eyewitness report that ISIS did it and somehow it was known what they would do, despite the only quote from an actual source saying "we don't know who did this or why or what is planned" which basically nullified the entire story, but that is not my rant and for the record, a week after Good Friday came and went, the Church says the priest is still alive and they are working on his release.

I read all of this and made a stupid mistake: I posted my thoughts on the subject.  I said it was assumption that was obviously pre-Easter propaganda to inspire fear before the holiday season and further encourage the idea that all of Islam is at war with Christianity.   I further said that eye witness testimony of a traumatized victim is rarely accurate and posted a link to a Scientific American study to back that up.   I said since there was no evidence of any aspect of the story of the priest, we should discount it.   My mind told me it was another "Jessica Lynch was anally raped" or "Pat Tillman  was killed by the Taliban in an heroic fight" type of story which it was.   I thought that would be the end of it or people would debate the Islam vs Christianity war aspect, but what came shocked me.

My friends, or people who I thought were my friends came at me with daggers out, context dismissed, goal posts moved, and spin at their command.   Somehow to them I had defended terrorism, found out they thought I usually took the side of the terrorists, denied every aspect of said story as a lie, and probably slapped their mothers and broke their favorite toys.   It was shocking.   Now I had began to grow tired of said site long before this happened and this is part of the reasoning.  What occurred around Good Friday falls into "straw that broke the camel's back" rather than "Earth-shattering life ending event".

See, this site used to be somewhat tolerable of other points of view in that those on your side rarely came after you when they disagreed with you; it was an unwritten rule of allies on a site of constant verbal warfare.   And when they did, it was done with respect and directed to the issues and not the person; ad hominem, strawmen, goal post relocation, etc  were the toys we used on the other side, not on our side, but this election changed all that.   Suddenly the place became insider warfare as all  alliances became null and void and it broke down to two camps with only one dividing issue: Sanders or Clinton.

It was ugly and I carry my share of the burden for what it became.  I earned my online enemies and they earned me and I think there is a modicum of respect between us regardless as we enjoy the duel more than a victory.   It is not these fights that drove me, but it is those fights that tired me.

Then the "neutral" moderator who we all knew took sides, but tried to hide it no longer hid it.  He came out for a camp and those in his camp were given freedom while others were under scrutiny.   It was subtle at first, but just like how a hair grows, it changed without notice until it was really changed.  He does his best to try and be as neutral as possible while still playing in the game, but one really can't be an honest and impartial referee when they also openly play for a team.   It is his playground and I don't begrudge him of this, but the realization further tired me.

I came into that Good Friday themed thread tired and battle weary while also dealing with the outside pressures of reality that really has nerve butting into my online life; I work hard to keep Kanrei separate from who I am.  Anyway, when I found myself under attack from those I thought were friends, I realized I was a ship without a port and it was time to get the fuck out of the storm.    I could count on those against me to be against me, but I saw I could not count on those not against me to be with me or at least leave it alone.   It was a realization that there was no truth there, no fairness, and no trust.

I learned a lot in my...14 years blogging there.  FOURTEEN YEARS!  WOW!  Anyway,  I have made some friends there whom are on Facebook and other means for me to still talk to, but the value of that site to me has run its course.   It is now a lot like being ready for high school, but wanting to still go to kindergarten: there is nothing to offer me there than fingerprinting and recess.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

To the Tune of "I Will Survive"


First I was a Republican
Because I was terrified
I kept hoping the GOP would keep the good lord on my side
I spend so many nights
Looking underneath my bed
Not realizing
The boogeymen were only in my head
So I became a Democrat
In hopes that things would change
I voted for people I denied were deranged
I did the things I did to keep the GOP from me
Now I'm regretting all my votes
I have cast for the presidency
Because nothing will change
Regardless of the name
The policies remain despite the failure that they gain
The choices we all face
Should not be considered for a bit
We are forced to choose between a pile a feces and pure sh_t
Oh no, not I
I want to survive
I won't vote for anyone who wants war to only thrive
I would rather be a spoiler or vote from my heart
Than vote for a loser who will tear this place apart

Friday, March 18, 2016

Yup..um....

Upon reflection, yeah...it's been a lot this year.   In one year I lost one cat, then my colon, got a bag,  then lost my other cat.   And I am realizing I have never actually been alone before and I'm not sure I like it.   I love other people not being around, but I haven't been without a cat for almost 20 years now and the absence screams louder than words.  It makes sense I should be in a funk as the human mind can only push so much aside before it comes flooding back.  Hell, I don't think I've yet processed my cancer experiences because I was so concerned about making sure other people didn't worry about me that I probably lied to myself as well as to them about how I felt.  I've been so busy struggling along that reflection is a luxury I can't afford, but seems to be given to me at night as I try to sleep at no charge.   It gets tiring denying emotion...more than it would be dealing with it.

And this new revelation that I am hiding my emotions from even myself has caused me to second guess everything from these past 2 years since the Chemo ended.  Hell, thanks to Chemo-Brain, I'm not even sure 100% what I am doing.    I've made poor choices these last two years for the most part, but they were choices I had no choice in making.   I had to move out of my parents' house because my cats couldn't live with me there and my friend who was cat sitting was having a baby.  I had to sell my condo because I had massive debts that needed repayment even though I could not afford an apartment.   I had to return to work quicker than I was mentally ready to because I had rent and bills to pay.   I am correcting this which is the only good that comes from Satchel's leaving me: I am moving back in with my parents for a year to help me save up money.

I will be paying rent to stay with them because I can't freeload, but I will be able to save living with them and, more importantly since nobody wants to live with their parents, I am motivated to find a second job so I don't have to spend much time there reminding myself that I have thus far failed in the game of life.

Oh, I'm a good person and I care deeply.  I am honest and trustworthy and everything we strive to be, but I am not very good at career or saving or planning or any of those adult things we must do as we get older.   When I say I failed at life, I mean in terms of possession and achievement and not as a human.  Quite the opposite actually- when it comes to being human, I think I surpass most.

So this is where I am right now- in a holding pattern as I wait for my lease to end so I can move in with my parents and get my life on track.   It is going to be a long couple of months that, thanks to Chemo-brain, should fly by.

=D

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

My Asset is My Greatest Liability

There is a theme running when I speak to people about my mental state post-cancer and it is starting to strike me as true given how many different people who just met me have all said the same thing: my sense of humor is such that, not only do others not know how I feel, but I don't know myself.   My carefully crafted defense mechanism of trying to always find the silly and nonsensical aspects of life has clouded my ability to feel, or how do deal with these feelings when they sneak through.      It is funny because my sense of humor was one of the few aspects I always had confidence in as an asset.

I dismissed this theory when it was first presented to me at group months ago because it made no sense.  Of course I know what I think and how I feel; I'm the one thinking and feeling it!   They have brought it up numerous other times, and it is starting to makes sense to me.   I found I could no longer dismiss it when my doctor who has known me since I was about six made a similar comment one day while visiting him and asking about side effects I was dealing with.   He asked me how they are making me feel and, after a few quick one liners I was left with "I'm not totally sure" and he confirmed at that moment what my group had theorized: my sense of humor isn't protecting others from the truths of my life; it is protecting me.

I will try to be honest and humor-free for a moment in the name of trying to combat this: I do still feel detached from day to day life.   I made my peace with dying yet didn't die which threw a metaphorical monkey wrench in how I saw things going.    You would think cutting ties would be hard, but it surprisingly wasn't for the most part, but finding meaning again...that is the challenge!    I am burdened with nihilism.   I saw people who should have lived not and found myself still alive with nothing to really live for.   The random nature of this disease and how unfairly it chooses its targets altered how I view life in general and cemented ideas  I used to think were only jokes: the meaning of life is to give life meaning, shit happens, it won't mean a thing in 100 years, etc, etc, etc.

There is a bright side to this however which I wouldn't trade for the world: a feeling of clarity.   I have or am working on ending my fixation on the stupid and the pointless for anything other than entertainment purposes and am giving up on trying to change the world- I need to work on myself.    I find myself with a tad bit more hubris than I had before as I notice the stupid things people work themselves up over while ignoring the things they should focus on, but at the same time I am finding it harder to get worked up over things I should be worked up over.   Lack of money?   It will come.   Work?   Going fine.   Love life?  Don't need one.  Friends?  I got ones that understand me and that I love so I don't need or want more.   Career?   There is always another job around when I need one.  Purpose?   To find one.

The Chemo-Brain doesn't help my attitude either as it is hard to embrace something you don't really remember and all life is is memories.   I am learning to use Chemo-Brain to live in the moment rather than live for the memories, and that is a good thing.    I can't tell you how often I would be eager for a concert of movie to end so I could start remembering how great it was and I realize that blocks my enjoyment of the moment.   I need to focus on moments.   And I need to stop making so many damned jokes all the time.

Those who know me probably are wondering about this sense of humor I am speaking of as they haven't seen it for the most part.  I come across as somber, serious, and humorless.   This is because I have learned my sense of humor and other people usually tend to not mix very well, so the longer you know me the less of my humor you will see.   When I first meet you and, if I don't think I will see you often in the future, you will see more of it than someone who has known me for 20 years.  My group who sees me 2 hours a week gets a lot of it because of the subject matter we deal with.   I guess I am not confident enough in my sense of humor to share it, but confident enough in it to use it has a shield from feeling.

The thing is not that I don't care, but I think I am afraid to care too much so I dismiss things with a quick joke.   I mock myself, my situation, and my pain to keep myself from dwelling on it.   It is my way of saying "it is no big deal so get over it already" and my group says that is wrong.   If I don't accept other people telling me to get over it already, why do I accept it from myself?   Why do I accept the mockery from myself when I would kill anyone who said what I think to me?

I obviously still have a lot of work to do and the events of the last two years obviously still weigh very heavily on my mind even though I try my best to minimize it through a constantly running internal comedic monologue.   Maybe I need to just sit and force myself to cry for a week straight; sit Shiva for who I was, and then move on.   Maybe I was too eager to return to a life that I can never return too and need to really work on embracing this new reality.

Maybe...