Back to the races

You use humor to deal with your situation, my doctor said at my visit last week.

I guess you can say that, I replied. It’s pretty dark, but then what about this isn’t?

Yeah, it is. But why do you do that? I liked that he didn’t ask why I thought I did it in the manner of most doctors, as though he intended to correct my self-analysis afterwards.

Because if I don’t, I’ll just start crying and I don’t want to be that person who starts crying every time she opens her mouth. And because it is funny, the whole situation is so completely terrible it’s absurd. 

Do you find yourself being nicer to people to try and protect them from this?

No. I turn into a bitch.

I found out the cancer was back at the end of February. My tumor markers had elevated in the three months since they’d last been tested, almost always an indicator of recurrence. It was a couple of weeks before a planned repair surgery that didn’t go as planned. There were little tumor deposits scattered throughout my abdomen, too small to be picked up on the CT scan. I went in to surgery knowing that it might not accomplish what it was meant to, depending on what the surgeons found when I was unzipped. It wasn’t a surprise when I woke up without the desired outcome. I was prepared for that.

I wasn’t prepared for the meltdown I had later when I was visited by the surgical team. Two years’ worth of frustration and anger dumped over five people who had nothing to do with my care prior to the previous day’s surgery. I cried and I yelled and I would have thrown myself to the floor if I wasn’t hooked up to so many machines. I made my demands, one of which was a psychiatrist. There was someone to see me within the hour.

I added a second antidepressant to my daily regimen. We’ll double the dose, said my doctor, it’ll take a couple of weeks to kick in, but it should help with the anxiety. And if it doesn’t work, there are other things we can try.

I laughed with only a little mirth. Yeah, we’ll just drug me into feeling like a normal person.

Hey, he said, don’t get cynical on me.

I’m trying.


About Alicia Louise

I'm a writer, editor, fact checker, storyteller, events organizer, chronically busy yet endlessly lazy, mildly neurotic (though I keep the neuroses well-hidden, one hopes) 32-year-old with recurrent ovarian cancer. I like people and good writing and straight talk. I have a hard time feeling sorry for people, including myself, but the people that I love, I love passionately; one may even say creepily. I try to keep that mostly to myself. I'd like to be charming, but I'm usually just a mess. I'm like a gull slamming into your windshield.
This entry was posted in Indignities of the human body, psychosocial oncology, Second recurrence, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Back to the races

  1. robin says:

    I guess this is just about all of our biggest fears – recurrence. I have not met you, but we have embarked upon the same path without a choice. If cancer shall ever return again to visit me, i will be thankful for the one choice we DO have. To be human. Cry if you must, scream if it makes you feel better. Never feel guilty for feeling. Cancer cannot steal your right to feel.

  2. Terri says:

    God damn, Alicia. I had no idea it was back. Again. Sending love from Kentucky up to you. -T

    • Alicia says:

      Thanks, Terri. I’ve kept this recurrence pretty close to my chest since once I found out, I knew I wasn’t starting treatment for a couple months yet because of surgery. I still don’t know what chemo I’ll be doing, but I should be finding out next week.

  3. Amy Aubin says:

    Hi Alicia,
    I know that feeling-all too common and I know what you’re saying about the dark humour in things . Sometimes I find myself laughing because if I don’t I would just cry. I’m sorry about your reoccurrence-I hope your body and mind can have the strength to make it through- I know it won’t be easy. If you need someone to have tea with or snakes and lattes or someone to just yell and scream and cry at- I can be that person; we all need those moments.

    • Alicia says:

      Yes, you know this feeling all to well. Thanks for your support — as shitty as the circumstances are, it’s good to know there is someone else who gets it.

  4. Aurelia says:

    I don’t know what to write, what to say. Just that I’m here and I love you. And this sucks.

  5. Lesley says:

    My best friend was diagnosed today. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Heather C. says:

    We laugh because what else can we do? If we don’t express the darkness inside us, it will eat us alive. Sending love and support.

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