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.