Thursday, July 09, 2015

I'm Still Thinking and Rambling...Perhaps Even Babbling at This Point

I'm sorry in advance if you are tired of hearing about my cancer, but it is the  event  most recently with the biggest impact on my life, so forgive me.   I spoke yesterday of how I changed from cancer, so today I will talk about how cancer changed me; a subtle but important difference.     Yesterday I spoke of what cancer taught me and today will be the effect the experience had on me.

I was a very private person who played their cards close to their chest.  My internal monologue was quite entertaining and funny, but I usually kept those thoughts in my head.    The few times I shared I was usually made uncomfortable by the reaction to them.   I thought it was my thoughts.   It wasn't, but my confidence in them.    The listener could tell I was uncomfortable sharing my thoughts and, as a result, they came across as empty and vague.   Not their fault at all.  Then came cancer...

There is no private with cancer.   There is no personal space with cancer.   I lost count of how many people had their fingers up my ass (not at one time pervert).  Shitting myself is more a norm than a freak occurrence.  I've had a catheter put up my penis and my ass exposed to random nurses (some quite hot) and had to call those same nurses to help the few times my ass exploded and missed the toilet 100%.  I've created smells in an office filled with women (one of whom I am attracted to) and had to overhear their "do you smell something" or "what smells" comments simply because they forgot; not malicious.    I've used the public bathrooms in every gas station, grocery store, movie theater ,restaurant, and rest stop you can think of and not to piss.  I've had a  bag of shit attached to my belly that burst open one time in Best Buy.   And that is just the first few things that leaps to mind without my getting too detailed (yes, there is worse).    I've gone through all of that and, as Elton John sang, am still standing better than I ever did.  

I learned shame is not something someone else forces upon you, but something you choose to feel.   Every experience I had was horrifying and worthy of my deciding to hide my head in shame, but for some reason I didn't.  I made jokes.   I laughed at myself.   The night I shit 7 pounds (yes, I weighed myself after every bowel movement for a year and averaged 2 pounds per session) I actually bragged about it to anyone who would listen.    I said to my radiation doctor one day as she apologized for having to finger my ass once again that it was OK because I had no shame left and I wasn't joking

It seems shame, like a man's hair, comes in a finite amount and, if you use it all up early, you will live your life without it.   I had long hair as a teen and in my 20's, so I have a bald spot today because I used up that area's hair allowance.  The same thing happened with my shame; where I was once embarrassed to even fart in public and never NEVER let anyone know I was taking a shit, I was now telling multiple strangers intimate details of my personal Hell and wasn't hesitating or feeling embarrassed in the slightest.   I've further realized as I post these stories uncensored here for all the world to read that I really have no shame left.

Someone once told me to write like my parents were dead.   They said I couldn't be honest as a writer if I worried what my mom would think if she read it.   I never could do it; I don't like the thought of dead parents and, when I did have one it would crush my creativity because I was sad my parents would be dead.   It never worked.

Cancer taught me something else: write like you are going to die.   If you are dead and people mock your writing, who cares?  If you are dead and people learn from your writing, you have a  legacy.  If the details of my journey can help another relate and know they are not alone like I sometimes felt, all the better.

And while I am being honest, I should let most of you know I was pissed at you for a time.   Some of you were great, but most of you vanished on me when I needed every reason to live I could find.   That hurt deeply.   I can understand my impending death might have made you uncomfortable, scared of saying the wrong thing, or made aware that we are the same age and my dying means you could be too.   I don't know, but I forgive you.    Some of you have been purged from my Facebook.   No hard feelings.

To be honest, since you never read this blog in the first place, you still won't know about this.

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