Sometimes in this blog I think I give the impression that having cancer is easy. That’s I’m just walking through life, loving and accepting and surrendering and blah blah fucking blah. You know what? There are good days and there are bad days. And it would be a disservice to anyone going through it to pretend like I don’t have bad days. So here’s one of the bad days- and thank you to that special person who listened to me bitch and complain last night and said “Life’s an asshole sometimes”. Yes- sometimes life is a fucking asshole- but that’s why we have friends and family and love. When life is a fucking asshole and you’re in a shitty mood it does no good to pretend that it’s all an opportunity for growth. I’m no fucking zen master- I’m just a regular guy trying to deal with this shit the best way I can. And sometimes that means opening to the world and loving more, and sometimes that means screaming in a car.
Without further ado…
Setting: A car. Billy Joel’s Moving Out is blaring on repeat. The song must play 20 or 30 times over the whole conversation. Driving through Portugal cove.
N: Hey man
B: How are you doing?
N: I don’t fucking know
B: Hahaha. Yeah that happens
N: I’m sick of this man
N: I’m sick of this fucking cancer shit. I’m sick of being sick. I’m sick of being in a goddamn bubble. I’m sick of being worried. I’m sick of chemo
B: Tell it like it is
N (crying): I fucking hate this! I fucking hate all of this! I didn’t want any of this!
B: Keep going
N (screaming): This fucking sucks! This isn’t fair! This is bullshit!
B: What’s the worst thing?
N (screaming): The worst thing? That’s so hard to pick from- is it the fucking isolation, the fact that we’re in the car and I have to wear a fucking surgical mask? I look like a fucking terrorist! Is it the possibility of bleomycin lung injury, the fact my PICC line is infected, or that I have to take my temperature every fucking day become I’m neutropenic?
B: Oh c’mon- what’s really the worst thing?
N (screaming): The worst thing is that I’m fucking alone through all of this! Jesus 8 or 9 months ago I was planning a wedding, now I’m here with fucking cancer!
B: Well that part isn’t exactly true
N: What do you mean?
B: I mean to be realistic- what if you had gotten married then had cancer? What if you had gotten married and didn’t meet all or love all the wonderful people you did in the last 8 months? What if those memories and those people weren’t in your life? What if you were in Ottawa or somewhere else? What if you were never diagnosed because you were never checking yourself?
N: Oh… Shit… Yeah I guess I never thought of that. But I don’t see any of those women in the car with me right now.
B: Well did you ask any of them? Didn’t you hear from all of them? Didn’t they care about you?
N: Hmm…yeah I guess I heard from all of them. And got varying degrees of support.
B: Is your problem that it’s not enough?
N: Yeah- it’s not enough. I want more. I’ve only ever been true and good to the people I loved- where the fuck are they in my hour of need?
B: I’m sorry man but you’re full of self pity bullshit
B: You’re self pity bullshit is pathetic. Oooo poor me, I’ve got tons of great friends and family but no one is holding my hand while I go through cancer.
N: Hey man- fuck you!
B: No- fuck you! Life’s like this. We all go through life alone sometimes! How long has it been for me? How long has it been since someone special was in my life? Jesus Christ- you don’t hear me bitching about it. When everything happened to you and you got back on the horse after I thought- good for you. How many great people loved you after your break up? How many stories did you have from around the world? How fucking happy were you? I hadn’t seen you that happy in years! While I was fucking stuck here.
N: That’s on you man! You could go out and find what I did! Whatever those moments and people were worth. They’re not exactly knocking on my door tonight. They’re not professing their undying love for me! I’m fucking stuck here with you too!
B: I can’t bro. I’m not that confidant; I don’t have that much going for me. But that’s my own shit- and I’m working on dealing with it. I know better than to bitch about how hard my life to you.
N: Fuck you! I’ve got fucking cancer!
B: Yeah and that’s really shitty but suck it up buttercup. What else you going to do?
N: You’re such a selfish fucking prick!
B: Yeah but I’m at least honest about it!
N: Jesus Christ- you’re a shitty friend!
B: No a shitty friend would coddle you like a fucking bitch. A real friend tells you the truth when you need to fucking hear it even if it makes you upset. I’m right here with you now while you go through this shit. So many people are. So if you want to yell, if you need to scream go ahead- but don’t pretend you’re fucking alone because you aren’t. And I’m sorry that I’m not an attractive girl- but I’m all you got motherfucker! And you know what? I’d lay down in the fucking traffic for you if I thought it’d make a difference. I’d give you my fucking bone marrow if you needed it- you’re my friend and I fucking love you.
Silence. 10 minutes of it.
N: (Sigh) I’d die for a smoke
B: Literally. When was your last one?
N: September 18th. It was a Du Maurier. Good but I would have killed for a Djarum.
B: What’s the odds ratio for smoking and Hodgkins?
N: I have no idea. Kay would probably know. I could ask.
B: That’s not going to add anything. Want to go back to my place and have some scoobie snacks?
N: Nah man. The taste of them makes me think of chemo.
B: Tragic. But you know we’re not getting smokes.
N: Yeah for sure. I’m totally done. It’s funny I quit for girls twice in my life, but the only time it stuck was when I quit for myself.
B: That’s like most things in life- you do it for other people and that shit eventually breaks down, you do it for yourself and that’s when a real change happens. And for fuck sakes can you turn off the Billy Joel?
N: Fuck you. No.
B: Well can you play “she’s always a woman”?
N: Jesus Christ; are you going to blow me in the car?
B: It’s a great song!
N: Man you are…fucking strange.
B: Ohhh play the stranger!
N: Do you know what a stranger is?
B: Yeah isn’t that when you sit on your hand till it goes dead and then jerk off with it?
N: How the fuck did we end up talking about this?
B: Well we can only talk about you having cancer for so long. Then I get bored.
N: Hahahah you are such a fucking prick.
B: We good man?
N: Yeah we’re good- but you’re still a fucking asshole
B: You love it