Aug 26 2010

Cancer Chronicles: questions?

Published by Reesa at 2:23 pm under health, me vs. cancer = I win

Still writing these and thinking on these posts, but so much happens daily that knowing which part to talk about can be overwhelming at times.¬† Thoughts on body awareness, othering through life crisis, prioritizing spent time, cancer anger, social outrage, balance of awkward and sublime, patience, energy management, learning to genuinely care for the physical self, chronicling what happened/is happening, future treatment choices, childbirth, human neuter, infinite shades of pain, friends’ processing in life crisis times, healthy pushing of self-boundaries, mind over matter vs body-says-fuck-you, family stuff…it all gets a bit jumbled together at times.

Anything in particular you’ve been wanting to know or learn more about, in this situation?

6 Responses to “Cancer Chronicles: questions?”

  1. Lynnon 27 Aug 2010 at 12:41 am

    Your experiences this past Flipside and Burners’ reactions upon seeing you.

  2. Reesaon 29 Aug 2010 at 10:50 am

    @Lynn — Thanks for the question! Burning Flipside was indeed quite interesting. Objectively, I had no business that close out from surgery (2 months) camping for a weekend in Texas summer heat. I definitely pushed myself much closer to the lymphedema danger zone for about a month after that and had to be extra careful with myself. Psychologically however, it was a pretty important expression of “I’m still alive” to make the attempt if I could, and I could always leave if it was too much exertion for me.

    The Rangers and Dirtwitch made it largely possible by offering me the option to take Ranger Echelon afternoon shifts in the air-conditioning. Even though it wasn’t the strongest A/C out there, it definitely made a difference getting through the hottest part of the day. We camped in the shade and mostly moved around at night since at that point I was still having a MUCH harder time with temperature regulation.

    Some of the nicest hospitality I received was from the Purple Taco camp. One of my few daytime adventures was walking over to get lunch tacos, and I ended up having to hang out in their shade, sitting in front of a fan, drinking the tastiest koolaid ever (must have been needing it) for about an hour before I could get the energy to venture back to camp. Even though they were in the middle of serving tacos I still got to chat with Nikki, Julie, André, and others briefly as I rested. They also provided a lovely resting place and pleasant company and scritches Sunday evening, when Nathan and I needed a break from dancing at the pyramid.

    Since I was wearing concealing and sun-sheltering clothes during the day, nighttime was the main opportunity to observe people’s reactions. Since many people have altered perceptions at such an event, it was hard to tell how many of them perceived what they were seeing, or understood it if they saw it. I know Sunday night one middle-aged drunk gentleman was one of the few exhibiting obvious surprise and alteration of his walking path to avoid me after he parsed the visual input.

    Burn night itself was very…anthropological for me this year (I blame that darned Prehistory of Sex book I read after surgery). I had a lovely camp chair seat right next to where the firespinners entered, a great angled view of the effigy. And a lot of thoughts about how often we as thinking monkeys have been raising this sort of energy in various forms for thousands and thousands of years. Stuff like that.

    Probably the most remarkable “only at Flipside” experience this year was the closure and reconciliation of sorts with my first girlfriend. As we were sitting in a camp taking a breathing break, she saw me (I’d seen her the previous year with the “Free Hugs” crowd so I knew she attended) and approached me asking forgiveness for her bad treatment of me during the break-up. It was obviously something that had been a psychic weight for her for many years, and with my new lease on life I was certainly in a place to give her that surcease. We chatted for about half an hour subjective time, a fast-forward summary of our years since we’d last spoken. Knowing her, I knew she would appreciate the scar (she’s had major rehabilitative surgery of her own and partially fetishizes scarification), and she did, eagerly asking if she could touch it (she could and did). She found it beautiful, which it is.

    Many good gifts received even though it was one of the hardest physical activities I’ve ever set myself (not counting cancer and surgery, of course); quite worth it.

  3. Lynnon 05 Sep 2010 at 5:50 pm

    I’m glad it was.

    To the odd gentleman who ‘crossed the street’ to avoid you: I hereby flip you the bird.

    Have you coined any new words relating to the overall survival experience (so far, given it’s a from-here-on-out thing)?

  4. Reesaon 05 Sep 2010 at 8:09 pm

    @Lynn — Hmmm…interesting question. Mind sharing what thought made you ask that? I make up words for myself all the time, but nothing leaps to mind right away as specific to the cancer experience (doesn’t mean I haven’t, just not in my head atm) ON the other hand, one of my favorite coined words — ovacious — definitely works for describing my awesomeness throughout the experience… :)

  5. Lynnon 05 Sep 2010 at 11:03 pm

    I learned a new word today - dhimmitude - which someone stretched from dhimmi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dhimmi) and wondered if anything had popped into your head since the surgery to describe any of the medical staff, the cancer itself, the pain, the process of living before surgery and the process of reliving after. Anything.

  6. Reesaon 10 Sep 2010 at 7:04 am

    @ Lynn — interesting word! I think Nathan actually might have coined a word or two during the process, will have to ask him. For me descriptive phrases came much more commonly — such as describing the tumor pain at one point as “little gnomes standing on it and stabbing it with viciously serrated knives” and such. Interesting!