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.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Attitude is Everything

Yesterday was a total crap day. UCLA had me on hold for 45 minutes and I still didn't get a dental appointment. I spoke to Dr. Soltani since my next call was the number Dr. McNicoll gave me last week, and she just happened to be the dentist on duty at the Tumor Clinic. She said she had to look up my records to check if my Kaiser referral was still good, and of course the records are at UCLA. It's Tuesday, and she hasn't called me back yet.

Just when I started to cry in frustration, I remembered the first question she asked me when she got on the telephone: "Are you in pain?" It reminded me that her patients may almost exclusively be cancer patients, and probably in worse shape than me. Well, I'm not in pain, my teeth aren't brittle, and all I'm really eager for is a refill on my fluoride gel. So, I said Fuck It, dried my tears, counted my blessings, and went back to work. If the universe doesn't want me to get a dental appointment any time soon, then I'll just have to make do for the time being with Dr. McNicoll's thumbs-up from last week. Besides, I really would rather just go back to seeing Dr. Lam again.

That's what I've been doing a lot of lately: attitude adjustment. I mentioned a few days ago about shifting gears now that I'm recovering in a drama-free, groovy way. I mean, what else can ya do?

Adjusting to less drama after months of cancer madness is a lot harder than expected. Especially since changes are still happening, and still so quickly. Tomorrow is the 5 month anniversary of my surgery. It's such a short period of time to go from cancer in mouth, to no cancer in malfunctioned mouth, to radiation shooting in malfunctioned mouth, to recovering mouth with unrecognizable body. Not to mention three different addresses and an ever expanding social calendar.

If a person really wanted to, she could always find something to complain about. And for the past five months, it was easy except I tried like hell to do anything but complain, just to keep my morale up. Now, there's nothing really to resist complaining about, and I catch myself looking for drama to not complain about just to feel "normal." It's some twisted-ass shit I have ricocheting in my head.

Fortunately, I have Leannah, Evelyn, and Agnieszka around daily to help keep perspective. They're my mental/emotional compass. When I suspect that I'm tap-dancing around the abyss, all I have to do is imagine how I'm currently behaving (or want to behave) through their eyes to pull me back to sanity. Leannah also has this gift of saying you're doing just fine, and making you believe it.

So I remain, as always, grateful for kick-ass friends. But I'm still running short on fluoride gel.


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