“We’re gonna put you through hell,” the doctors said. “It’ll be brutal, but we’re confident it will work.”
Because I want to live I said okay, registering the fear that was coursing through my body and the concern for the special someones in my life, two of them being canine someones. The doctors said other things too. “It’ll be at least a year before you can even begin to process what happened to you.”
It hasn’t been a year yet, and it’s true: I can’t process a thing.
It’s possible that at some time I might write about it. I might write about the odd language of cancer: battling (or fighting) and journey and survivor and gift. Or I might write about how three of us on my street were diagnosed with different cancers at the same time, and how we all wondered what we did wrong to get cancer and how we came to realize that living a healthy lifestyle and being healthy doesn’t prevent cancer; it just helps you weather the treatment a bit better. I might write about all that at some point in time. But that time is not this time, and to be honest, I don’t think too much about time other than the moment that I am in, here and now.
A few minutes have passed and I have spent that time searching my brain for a transition, a bridge (you know, the writerly techniques) to move this post along. I can’t find one. So I will start again.
There is perhaps never a greater sense of absolute separateness, of existential isolation as when your ears receive (or your senses perceive) the fact that you are in a life-threatening situation; when you are acutely aware that the moment that changes everything is fading away and the next moment has yet to show up. When it does, with luck it brings goodness and connection from kind, caring, wonderful and fun people. Friends, family, neighbours, strangers, and dogs. All who just do stuff you didn’t know you needed or wanted done. All who do Helpful, Essential, Life-Saving Stuff.
I had luck. We had luck. Or something like it. And help. Friends, family, neighbours, strangers — people near and far, and of course, health care people. There isn’t a thank-you big enough.
Meanwhile, the dogs: baby poodle Piper and senior terriermix Gia got to know new people who took care of them when we couldn’t. And, when I couldn’t be with them, Tinababa captured their antics in illustrations and digital recreations.
Did I say thank you yet. For all of us?
illustrations by Tinababa