Monday, August 22, 2011

Pity Party Patter

We've been checking in with one another fairly regularly, my pity party partners and I.

Maybe it's the time of year, fresh with the scent of the first days of school.  Our daughters and our friends' daughters and our grand-daughters are all headed out the door with new backpacks and freshly straightened hair while we sit back and nurse our wounds.  It was good to be young and carefree.  It was good not to worry about bullets or cancer.

There are legs which won't cross and binders which cannot be removed and there's that radiation rash that makes any movement at all an issue to consider wisely.  We are get-up-and-go girls when we're not being ravaged by disease or disability.  Finding our energy sapped, our nerves fraying, we're living embodiments of the fact that it has, in fact, got-up-and-went.

Not every day, of course.  We have our moments on the tennis court or at the Convention Center or walking the hallways in the mall.  There are times when our conditions are not our primary focus, when a sunset or a  good story or a meal or a phone call will take us out of ourselves for a while. We are not wallowers by nature.

But nature threw us a change-up, and we were, all of us, relatively unprepared.  We were fit - emotionally and physically - before disaster struck.  I'm not talking about that piece of it.  We had and have amazing support systems which reach out far beyond our expectations.  Our finances can handle the strain.  We are sophisticated in the ways of the medical establishment and we are fierce advocates on our own behalfs.  We are women, see us roar.

What we missed going into this, what has gobsmacked us and left us reeling, is the homely reality of the thing.  This really and truly and absolutely and without question happened to us.  It's not a dream; we have the scars to prove it.  We hurt in unusual places and those pains remind us of the enormity of it all.

My right quadricep is announcing its presence with authority as I type these words; I don't remember ever considering that muscle before January 8th.  JannyLou and JenniJazz have interesting interactions with their dermal layers and have become experts on lotions and clothing and positions to lessen the sensations.... the sensations that don't go away, but just become more insistent, more annoying, more deafening reminders that we are not well.

We will get well.  That is the plan.  We will be obedient patients.  We will follow instructions.  We know that.  But as they say on reality tv, it's the journey that matters.

We can safely say that this journey sucks.

1 comment:

  1. There was a blog post someone wrote on suffering recently--can't recall when, where, or whom exactly, but the comments section was roaring. It was on enlightenment and its promise of the elimination of suffering. Maybe it's my temperament, maybe it's my profession, or maybe I'm just stubborn as hell, but I insist that suffering is real and, somewhere on a continuum, present in all human lives. And to a great extent, it is unavoidable. I just get ticked when someone insists there are workarounds that any smart person could employ. All that kind of thinking does is make a person who is suffering feel responsible for it and that's adding insult to injury.

    What suffering serves to do is teach compassion and the knowledge that anything can happen to anyone at any time. I wish I didn't know that. I know you do, too.

    May you and your pity partners ease each other's way. May you hold each other up with kindness and laughter. May you each know your innocence in suffering. May it come to pass.


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