Thanks for joining me! This journey begins with a death sentence…
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton
Is that what I really want? Good company to make the way seem shorter??? Yikes! Good company; yes! That’s it!
The Ghost That Lingers
“The Ghost That Lingers” is me; the ghost that walks the rooms and hallways of my home. The spirit that occupies the failing body of my former self. I’m living a reality that is false; going on as if my life had no expiration date that I was aware of any time soon.
I traverse the same paths as those around me – shopping, running errands, keeping medical appointments, having dinner with friends or family, going to the movies, maintaining the chores around the house that I’m able to do.
I am a ghost who does sleep, but not at the accustomed hours this body used to keep. I usually stay up until I’m so tired, I collapse into my often fitful slumbers. Many days I wish I could stay abed, ignoring the world around me; the “normal” existence others step into as they awaken each morning.
Like a leper; many wish I could not be seen, heard, or thought of. Hang a bell around my neck; I am unclean. Those individuals who are unaware of my condition, though they may take note of my physical fatigue, emotional stress, or mental shortcomings; regard me as being normal. But, as soon as they learn I have MBC, even if they don’t fully understand what that means, those same people take a big step back; distancing themselves. This may be out of fear that being in my presence may somehow weaken their own immune systems, leaving them vulnerable to “catching” my disease. Many do not know how to act, what to say; how to process the reality.
If it weren’t for the chemo and Faslodex injections, I might have died months ago. I have heard from a woman who has been living with MBC for 16 years. I’ve heard of others who have lived 20 years. And, I know, there are women who live far shorter lives. It is like playing Russian Roulette with your MBC drugs, not knowing what time the trigger will be pulled and the life-ending bullet, formerly held back by the drugs, will enter your body.
When I am at family gatherings, or weddings, or every time I go to my furry family members’ veterinarian’s office (even though I only told one person working there – now working elsewhere – and swore her to secrecy) they all ask: “How are you feeling?” I usually reply: “I’m hanging in there.” “I’m doing okay.” “I’m fine.” There is not enough time. And not enough words. I don’t answer that question honestly. Most of them don’t want me to, anyway. It’s too scary. It’s too depressing. It is about things they don’t understand and they’d rather keep it that way. Other people say nothing at all, ever.
Even when I tell family members or friends who are closest to me, I sense a disconnect between my answer and what they hear. A wall they have put up to protect themselves that keeps my answer from penetrating their mind, their heart, their spirit. And it is at such times I wish I had simply told them I was fine.
To many in the medical field, I no longer exist – I am already dead. What need have they to “practice medicine” on the dying physical host that is my body? Or to administer emotional and mental healing to my damaged psyche and splintered cognitive brain? I am a “dead person walking,” as they say about death row inmates in State Penitentiaries.
The only beings who are receptive, willing, wanting to hear it all, wishing to make it all better, and who love me and accept me unconditionally, despite my circumstances, are my furry family members – my furkin. I owe them so much; much more than I could ever repay in a hundred lifetimes. They have prevented me from self-destruction; from self-designed death.
Many furkin, through the years, have stood sure-pawed in my stead, when I was too weak physically, emotionally and mentally to do so alone. And, these are beings I cannot imagine my life not being united with! They have propelled their love on me, each in their own way, through the decades. Through three separate diagnoses’ of cancer, and a host of over serious health conditions, they have been my salvation.
That, and my belief and reliance on the Creator.
This has been my first entry.
–The Ghost That Lingers
The tragedy of life is not death, but what we let die inside of us while we live. — Norman Cousins