Kevin's Dead Cat

After surgery sliced off an entire tumor and 1/3 of my tongue, plus six weeks of radiation therapy, I've been re-learning how to eat, drink, and talk with my newly re-constructed tongue and coping with side effects. But the cancer came back and I don't know what's going to happen next.

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

I don't want life to imitate art. I want life to be art.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Inhabiting my wound

The dread has been surfacing bit-by-bit since Dr. McNicoll told me about the impending radiation treatments, but this morning I was caught by the riptide. I told the office I wouldn't be coming in today.

One minute I'm telling Leannah how sick I am of people telling me how great it is that I've lost so much weight (Don't they realize it wasn't an accomplishment over will power? I fucking had cancer!), the next minute I'm crying because she suggested I take the first week of treatments off work. I tried to figure out why I'm reacting so differently to the prospect of radiation than I did to surgery. Instead I fell asleep and had a bad dream.

Mood swings suck. I haven't been turning on a dime in the middle of sentences, but I don't recall being this sensitive to what other people say since I was a depressed teenager who hated her life. I don't hate my life. I just want to get on with it. I described r-therapy as like surgery, except it lasts six weeks and I'll be awake the entire time with no anesthesia. However, I still have some codeine left (sorry, Tom, no more sharing with the class).

When I was on the slab yesterday, with my eyes closed and the mask pressing my head down, I felt buried alive. Usually I can calm myself down by picturing a friend of mine who looks so completely happy and peaceful when he's asleep. But it didn't work this time. What did work was imagining Team Slingblade going through my purse while I was stuck on the machine ("What's with all the keys? Is she a janitor?", "Look at all these receipts... and no cash.", "None of these pens have any ink.").

I hope this is the worst day I'll have. But I know better. Usually, I would retreat to my bookshelves, but my books are packed away, and until the loft is done, I don't have the luxury of seclusion. So here's (hopefully) my one completely downer entry. And I'll end this sermon with excerpts from Aimé Césaire's "lagoonal calendar" before pulling the pin from the holy hand grenade.

I make the most of this avatar
of an absurdly botched version of paradise
-it is much worse than a hell-
i inhabit from time to time one of my wounds
each minute i change apartments
and any peace frightens me

i inhabit thus a vast thought
but in most cases i prefer to confine myself
to the smallest of my ideas
or else i inhabit a magical formula
only its opening words
the rest being forgotten

to tell you the truth i no longer know my correct address


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