Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Bag Update

I just realized I have not spoken about my colostomy bag in quite some time.  It is actually a very good sign that I am not thinking about it all that often anymore.   On Saturday, I think I went a good ten hours without thinking about it and, more importantly, realization that I do have a bag did not upset me at all.   That tells me this is becoming my new normal.   It is not a positive yet and maybe never will be, but it is not a negative any longer; it is simply part of who I am.

Life after cancer is a lot like riding a bike after not doing it for thirty plus years: you basically know how to do it, but it is very awkward, uncomfortable, and frightening until you regain your confidence.   You also have to remember you are not the same person that you were the last time you rode that bike.   You are older now, different, more aware of the dangers, and a lot more fragile than you once were.   I suppose that it is more like riding that bike after an accident thirty years ago actually.  It feels familiar, but foreign.    You remember the tricks and stupid things you once did now fully aware of the consequences of a failed attempt.   It takes some getting used to.

I have been back on my bike for a little over two years now.   I had a major accident about eight months ago I am still recovering from, but I am back to riding and gaining confidence.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

No Session

A week off for me from delving into my mind as Thera was sick today.   Sadly, I skipped last night's support group (for the second week in a row) due to weather.   I really need to go to that thing more than I do, but living so far from it is a pain in the arse to be honest.   I hate the wait after work before it starts and I hate the drive at the end of such a long day.   They do help however and, more importantly, I feel I help others there, so I really have to make an effort to recommit to that group.   They are really good and nice people after all and socializing isn't bad for me.

Today, if I were in session, I would have spoken about how today is great proof of the randomness of life and how nothing really matters in the long run.   Sadly, I think today also showed me Karma is a myth, so that could be problematic in the long run, but I am getting off subject-

Yesterday, as you know, I returned a twenty to the bank they gave me in error.   If life followed a plan or there was Karma, that should be a check in the "good" box for me, right?   Well, today I discovered why I had yet to receive my debt card even though it expires in 10 days- someone else got it.   It seems that not only did someone else get it, but they figured out a way to use it without activating it because, upon checking my account today, I found out someone charged $100 at Starbucks and $10 at some online shoe store I had never heard of.  

Is the Universe pissed at me for returning $20 they tried to slip to me?   If I believed in cause and effect in life's treatment of you, like I used to, I would be looking at, analyzing, and fixating on what life was trying to tell me in this series of events that obviously had to mean something, but nope; no meaning, no purpose, no nothing...just some random shit that lined up in an interesting way.

My attitude remains intact after this test of my philosophy and I went through it all with a smile and not even a little annoyed by it all.   I simply went to the bank, filled out some paperwork, canceled my card, ordered a new one, and went about my day with my mood unaltered.

It did amuse me when I walked into the bank.   The bank manager from yesterday looked up from her desk, smiled at me, and said "did we do it again?"   It was cute.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Better Be Good for Goodness' Sake

I just freaked the fuck out of my bank.  No, really; I just walked in and confused the entire lot of them.   I started with the receptionist who didn’t know how to handle me, so she referred me to a manager who didn’t know what to do exactly and she went and got the head teller who had to shake my hand because he didn’t know what else to do.   He said this was something they had not really encountered before and were just simply shocked.   He could only shake my hand and thank me profusely and repeatedly.   So what did I do?

Yesterday I had to cash a check for $200.   The teller gave me all twenties and counted them before me.  I counted them again and placed them in my wallet and went about my errands; just another Monday until I used my money and discovered there was too much there.    I should have only had 10 twenties which I spent, but when I handed the 10 twenties to the cashier, she handed me one back because there were eleven in the stack, not ten.   Two of the twenties had fallen in love and were in the middle of copulation it seems when the teller grabbed my cash and these lovers refused to be parted.   They stayed in the embrace of love even when I counted the money and it wasn’t until an honest salesperson spotted the lovers that I became aware of them…but now what?

“SCORE!’ was my natural first thought.  “Free Money!”  “I won!”

Then came the voice and it came very quickly: “don’t they count the money in drawers at the end of a shift at the bank?”

“I’m sure they do.”

“And won’t they find out the drawer was twenty short?”

“Probably….and?”

“And they might have a zero tolerance policy.   The teller could lose her job over it.   How long will that twenty last you versus how long a steady paycheck will last her?”

Bastard was right; the money wasn’t going to change my life at all, but the missing money could alter her life horribly, so I called the bank and told the manager on duty what happened and she informed me the teller’s drawer was indeed short and, when I guessed the amount, she sighed relief.   I told her I would be in today to return the money, but I guess she didn’t tell anyone else about it.   She probably dismissed it as something I would intend to do, but not follow through on over a simply twenty.


So today I walked into the bank and confused the bloody lot of them.  They thanked me and told me people never do this, but I said there was nothing else I could do.   I didn’t want someone to lose their job over a simple mistake and I was simply doing the thing we all tell ourselves we would do.    Doing right only counts in my humble opinion, when nobody is watching you.   There was no reward, no parade, no holiday in my honor, but maybe I restored a little faith in humanity.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Session I'm Too Lazy To Check What Number

"So, when we last met," Thera said, "we were talking about nihilism and finding a purpose in life."

"You can't." I said.

"You can't what?" she asked.

"You can't find a purpose to life.   There isn't one."

"Explain."

Thera, short for therapist because it is not my place to use her real name, is quite good at leading questions and I have never learned so much about myself from someone in my life.

"Life has no purpose other than life," I said.   "It is without meaning and is basically, in essence, pointless."

"You talked about a bumper sticker..."

"The meaning of life is to give life meaning."

"Yes," she continued.  "So what does that mean to you?"

"That life is inherently meaningless and it is up to us to give it meaning."

"So it can have meaning then?"

"No.   Like perfection, it should be strived for, but can never be attained, but in the end most things are random and therefore rather pointless really."

"But you value life?   You spoke before about going through things to preserve life.  It must have value."

"My life has value to me and to a small circle of people of course, but in the grand scheme of things very few of us really matter and even those effects are short-lived.   If I died tomorrow, my friends and family would mourn for a while and always miss me, but life would go on.   It is, in the end, pointless.   Of course I could be totally wrong."

"I want to stay on this for a moment," she said.   "You said pointless and meaningless to define life, but you also said you value it."

"Yes, but I also see a difference between pointless and meaningless."

"How so?"

"Something that is pointless can never have value while something that is meaningless can.   It is extrinsic vs intrinsic values: a pointless thing never has either while a meaningless thing can have intrinsic value, but both have no extrinsic value."

"I'm not sure I'm following you."

"Take Don Quixote."

"OK"

"As I remember the story, Don Quixote was just a guy on a mule jousting windmills, but in his head he was a brave knight fighting giants to defend his one true love.   His actions were pointless: he was never going to win his love or kill the giants as neither existed nor was he ever going to defeat a windmill from atop a mule, but they were not meaningless.   They gave his life meaning and were of the utmost importance to him.   It was pointless to all and meaningless to all, but him.

"My life," I continued,"is meaningless to the grand scheme.   It is pointless.   Today, on my way to work, I had to park far away from my office because someone decided to get into a gun fight with the police and lost.   Their life, aside from making me park further away from my office was meaningless and pointless.   He will be mourned by some and his death celebrated by others, but 99.9% of us will never even know his name."

"And this bothers you?"

"It used to.  It didn't before cancer while I was still immortal, but it did after.   I had a hard time finding a value in the meaningless and the pointless.   Everything had to either be striving towards something or in response to something and all that was lost.   A random life devoid of purpose means the goals are illusions and the memories just that."

"And now?"

"I am learning to live in the now.   I am learning to live not for the memory or for tomorrow, but for the moment.   I am trying to enjoy what I have now because I know tomorrow is not a promise and yesterday is gone.   It has taken cancer and chemo-brain to teach me this, but I think I am learning it."

"And how does your nihilism fit into this new outlook?"

"It is liberating to be honest.   If life is without meaning or purpose, then I can stop worrying about tomorrow and simply be.   You can drive yourself mad worrying what if and trying to find patterns to everything which I used to do.    You tell yourself you misread the patterns when things don't work out as you thought they should rather than realizing it is just random and those few times things sync up are just simply a few times some really cool shit happened to you and nothing more. "

This is of course not a verbatim of my last session, but is in essence a fictional account of our actual discussion and the things I said here are as close to my actual answers as I can recall.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Quick Thought....

Republicans seem to think terrorism is some ghost in a Tim Burton movie and if we just said “radical Islam” three times aloud, it would go away.  I think Obama has made it tragically clear that he has no issue bombing Muslims as he has done it steadily for the last eight years and, as the GOP points out, we are no safer.   Why would more bombs and a change in lexicon make any difference?

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

My Highhorse Vs Yours.

It is so easy to hate. It is too easy to condemn.  Guns are too easy to get.   Control won't do anything. Muslims want us is dead. I fear. Fear. Fear. Let the bodies hit the floor.  There are no victims anymore, just unwilling Pawns and a game they never signed up to play. I realize I'm bout to violate the very thing that I'm condemning by doing this, but it has to be said. I beg of you to forgive my hi horse for the moment.  I want you to think about the tragedy in Orlando that happened this weekend. I'm sure you are already, but I want you to focus on something specific. I want you to ask yourself how well do you know the shooter; However old you know the issues that people are pushing; and how much do you know about the victims? I set up my Facebook page that it is OK to sit Shivah.  It's of the upmost importance that we remember the victims. It is vital to our over all humanity but we not turn every tragedy into an opportunity to score some type of political points or to prove you were right about something. That is selfish.  It tells me you're not sad about what happened; it tells me that you really not concerned about people; it tells me that you actually probably happy something like this happened see you can say see I told you.   At a minimum, 103 peoples lives breather ended horribly or forever burdened with the memories that will hunt them. Someone who survived the randomness of life, I really feel for the survivors will be even more overlooked those who diedand those who died but will have to deal with trying to find some sort of rhyme and reason to why they survived and others did not. It is a heavy burden to carry and I really hope they find the help that they are going to need to regain some semblance of life. My prayers to the family's.