Tuesday, January 11, 2005

If Temper Tantrums Cured Cancer

I want to hold my breath ‘til I turn blue and throw myself on the floor kicking and screaming until there’s finally an end to the pain and suffering of the people I love.

Today, I don’t give a flying fuck about sex or jokes or gender politics or any of the other trivial bullshit I usually write about. I’m so angry that my people are getting sick and hurt. It’s scaring the shit out of me and there’s nothing I can do about it.

One of my girls from work has taken a leave of absence to be at home with her husband while he dies from cancer. They’ve tried absolutely everything, traveling the country from hospital to hospital, and suffering through multiple chemo and radiation treatments. Nothing worked. It’s the end, and they’ve gathered everyone together to say goodbye.

I talked to Mike today.
I’ve been in love three times in my life and he was the first. We hadn’t seen or spoken to one another for 13 years, but last summer we found one another again. As we caught up with each other’s lives, I learned that he’d had a heart attack a few weeks before 9/11 and had only returned to work a couple days before the attack. His building was across the street. He told me about watching bodies fall and the sound they made when they hit the ground. His own body was one of many we watched on TV, soot-covered, shuffling, in the mass of traumatized New Yorkers, across the Brooklyn Bridge in the aftermath. It seemed he had escaped death twice since we had parted ways.

That we found one another again was such a relief. I had recovered one of my dearest and closest friends. At the same time, it’s been difficult to negotiate a workable relationship because we both continue to have deep and passionate feelings for one another. Although I have an open marriage, he does not. Even though we only have phone and e-mail contact, it’s been challenging to set emotional and ethical boundaries. Before Thanksgiving, we decided it was best to take a break from one another for a while.

Today I phoned again.

He was cheerful and excited to hear my voice. We missed one another, and talked and laughed for a long time, as old friends do.

After a while he got to the part where he told me that they found lumps. There are a lot of lumps. They are under his arms and in his chest tissue. He had to have a mammogram last week. The results won’t be back until the end of this week, but the doctor is concerned.

I don’t want to believe that this beautiful, sweet, sensitive, intelligent man can have something so insidious as breast cancer. This doesn’t happen to huge, strong athletic men like Mike … or, I suppose it can … but it shouldn’t goddamit!

Fuck, I’m pissed off!!!!!!!!! TERRIFIED!

We ended the call with him telling me not to fret, and blah, blah, blah, And, not to worry until the results are back, more blah, blah, blah.

Then, he asks me if I’m getting any. HELL!


At 9:35 AM, Blogger dwduck said...

Life is just like a really long rollercoaster ride. You have your ups and downs and then you have your times when you are turned upside down. And at the end it's over. But what happens at the end is the real question...Do you say, "I don't want to go on another one ever again!" Or do you say, "WOW, that was fun...let's do it again."

At 11:24 AM, Blogger John Q. Public said...

Theresa, I'm so sorry to hear that everything is falling down around your ears right now. Yuck. You've got my email if you need to talk.


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