I’m tired of counting down. Feels like my whole cancer life is about counting down.

Maybe all of life is about counting down. Days until vacation. Days until exams. Days you can’t wait for – like turning 21. Days you can so wait for - like turning 30, 40, 50, 60. Maybe I’m aware of the counting now because it feels more weighty.

I live and count time in the weighty waiting world  - waiting for things to come, for things to be over, for things to grow and things to shrink, for things to leave, for things to return. Waiting to hear if there’s something in my brain, or nothing in my brain. Waiting to be told my bone marrow’s involved. (Involved. Seriously, medical language?  Who comes up with that shit?)

“There was a cancer break-in and I’m sorry to tell you, your bone marrow was involved.”

“A B&E? My marrow? Oh no! But she’s always been so well-behaved. Such a good girl. I didn’t suspect a thing. Will she have a record?”

“I’m afraid so, and the only way to have it expunged is to dig a hole in your spine and test her.”

“She really doesn’t deserve that kind of pain. It was only her first offence. What if she tests clean?”

“Well then we test her again in a year or so.”

“And if she tests malignant?”

“Well then we test her again in a year or so.”

“Thanks. That’s so helpful. Are the handcuffs really necessary?”

Everyone deserves an award just for living in the weighty waiting world. Not for patience or strength, or positive attitude, but just for being here, counting down, riding it out best we can. I’d like a shiny button: SUPERSTAR WWW Waiter. You can go to the WWW souvenir shop and pick one up, that, or a ribbon, a plaque, a trophy, a little something for each of us hanging out in this Sisyphean, Kafkaesque, name-your-trapped-over-burdened-boy mess.

Tuesday. Three days and counting until my PET scan results. Three days until the burden of my radiation decision likely shifts back onto my shoulders. Not that it ever left there, but distraction can foster a lightness of being. It can stop the counting. Especially when World Pride hits your city, as it did this weekend, with Melissa Etheridge screaming at me and 60,000 others to bring her some water, followed by - and I don’t even like fireworks so much - City Hall lighting up with pyrotechnic magic that made me cry because it’s a rare thing when that kind of beauty and expense go into saying here’s to you, all you fabulous queers. And for a few hours or even days I stop counting down.

Wishing away time or trying to block its movement is not time well spent. But it’s a near fucking impossible human habit to break.

Speaking of impossible habits to make or break, the weirdest thing happened during my MRI last Monday. Inside the tube, face 2 inches from the plastic head cover, cradling the just-in-case squeezy alarm, rave/alt jazz/afro funk banging away – I meditated. Meditated. Not intentionally. Accidentally. A curious reversal of everything in my ridiculously speedy ADHD brain. I reached for thoughts – shopping oversights, dinner plans, memoir topics - and found them beyond my grasp. The noise of the MRI hauled me back into peaceful nothingness. Nothingness with a beat. Despite the fact that critical information about cancer in my head was being recorded, I was, well, Zen-ish. Maybe even Zen itself. Wonder of wonders.

It didn’t last. I’m back to 4-3-2-1. But that’s OK. 

I wonder if the radiation machine makes noise.


Your writing on this one is especially wonderful. But I love...LOVE...your graphic choice.

Great post, wonderful images as always... and you are one of those fabulous fireworks.


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