A brief timeline of my 2018 thus far.
January 9: X-ray results indicating an obliterated aortic pulmonary window.
What’s an aortic pulmonary window? (obliterate /əˈblidəˌrāt/: cause to become invisible or indistinct; blot out).
January 17: CT scan results indicating a large anterior mediastinal mass measuring 9.2 x 3.6 cm with minor extension into the superior mediastinum and mild mass effect on the left brachiocephalic vein.
What’s a mediastinum? (mediastinumˌ/mēdēəˈstīnəm/: a membranous partition between two body cavities or two parts of an organ, especially that between the lungs).
January 26: Anterior mediastinal biopsy. Crushed tissue sample. Results inconclusive.
How could they fuck that up?
February 19: Second anterior mediastinal biopsy completed.
Why did it take a month to get another biopsy?
February 25: Diagnosis: classical Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Stage IV.
you. have. cancer.
March 5: CT scan chest abdomen pelvis. The anterior mediastinal mass consistent with biopsy proven lymphoma has increased in size. The mass now extends superiorly to the sternal notch, just below the thyroid gland. Maximal axial diameters of this tumor at the level of the mid ascending aorta is 9.7 x 4.7 cm compared to 9.2 x 3.8 cm before.
there is a tumor in your chest,
and it is growing.
it is compressing important things like pulmonary veins,
and they say you will more or less explode and die if it continues.
that’s called an “oncological emergency”.
March 15: Search and destroy: begin chemotherapy.
Treatment plan: It’s as easy as A, B, V, D!
A Doxorubicin (also known as ADRIAMYCIN)
Common side effects include:
nausea and vomiting (may be severe),
loss of appetite and weight loss,
missed menstrual periods,
darkening of your skin or nails,
eye redness, or puffy eyes,
phlebitis (inflammation of veins),
lung problems: pneumonitis,
pain/redness at injection site,
flu like symptoms (chills, fever, aches),
peripheral neuropathy (numbness or tingling in the hands or feet),
photosensitivity (sensitivity to the sun – may get sunburned quickly)
WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON?
Side effects the medical establishment does not tell you about, and couldn’t help you with anyways.
am i the only rural queerdo with cancer? #isolation.
am i the only one who was filled with dread upon realizing i would lose my pit hair?
am i the only one casting protection spells in the CT machine? radioactive iodine don’t got shit on witches.
am i the only one asking the chemo nurses if it’s safe to shit cytotoxic chemicals (see: toxic to living cells) into a hole in the ground? can’t flush twice in the woods.
am i the only one asking the cancer society volunteer why the “look good, feel better” chemo beautification program is just for women? patriarchy doesn’t like bald bitches. #beautynorms
am i the only one who doesn’t feel like being a #cancerthriver is empowering? i’m fucking pissed. i’ve got a whole lotta big feels right now. i don’t want to adopt some posicore mantra of how i’m going to emerge on the other side of this battle a different person (even though that is true, as my cells rebirth themselves one by one, i am basically a phoenix). if you don’t emerge, does it mean you didn’t try hard enough? didn’t eat enough kale salad, pump enough coffee enemas into your ass? everything happens for a reason. #whatdoesn’tkillyoumakesyoustronger.
i’m sick of being strong. i need a 3 hour nap on the days i get out of bed and i’m bored of my life revolving around eating at 2 hour intervals so i don’t wither away into oblivion because the thought of food makes my stomach churn. i don’t feel strong. i feel small and sad and lonely.
dumb shit people you barely know feel entitled to say to you:
OH MY GOD I DIDN’T KNOW YOU WERE SICK! *offers non-consensual assault hug* i’m sending you so much love and light.
you seem so calm about all of this.
*non-consensually touches my head* I just love that look!
my neighbour’s hairdresser/uncle’s first girlfriend in university/co-worker’s stepdaughter totally beat cancer by eating organic weed candy/juicing 600 lbs of chaga a day/going to this radical alternative cancer care clinic in Switzerland.
when you look in the mirror, can you still recognize yourself?
yes, my cells mutated and formed a 10cm tumor in my chest and now i have to take poison that makes my hair fall out and my gut lining break down and my mind feel like i’m walking around in a haze of impenetrable fog where i can’t remember what year it is and the most exciting thing that happens in my day is managing to take a shit, but i’m not sick. i get to define what health and healing looks like for me. #chemowitch.
i’m also not okay. i’ve been poked and prodded so many times in the past 6 months my veins are sclerosed and i had to have a cyborg dome inserted into my chest so the poison can still be injected,
and one time i ended up in the ER after being awake for 24 hours in such all consuming, blinding, torturous, pulsing, burning nerve pain it felt like every neural pathway in my body was lit up like being struck by lightening, sticking your finger into an electrical socket, and pulling bread out the toaster with a knife all at once, while hallucinating i was being shot by tiny little fairies with thousands of arrows, over and over and over until i finally got some fucking hydromorphone, and even then i couldn’t sleep because i was so strung out and high on pain, like a bad trip that just won’t quit, and then i had to fly to vancouver wearing a mask in the plane because i can’t breathe recycled germ air that might infect my compromised immune system, so they could stick me into their radioactive time machine and tell me if the poison was making the tumor shrink, and then come back home and go in for another dose. #saturnreturn #keepinitreal
my eyebrows are so thin when i look in the mirror i feel like i’m growing backwards into an embryo and sometimes i wish i could crawl into the womb and float, and just be held and rocked in the tides by the great mother, instead of being suspended in this toxic waste dump of chemical sludge that is what my insides feel like. i don’t know how else to convey the sense that every cell and organ in my body can’t quite remember what they’re supposed to be doing and so everyone is bumping into each other like those bumper car games i hated as a child because i always ended up crying in the corner getting rammed repeatedly by all the bullies, and it’s giving me a headache, and i want to vomit but i’m taking more drugs to suppress that, and wow having cancer now isn’t as bad as it would have been 25 years ago, hey? but it still mostly sucks.
A brief timeline of my 2018 this far, continued.
March 29: Chemo round 2.
feel like shit. recover.
April 12: Chemo round 3.
is having cancer making me feel embodied in a way i never have before?
nothing like brutal physical symptoms to remember you’re in a body…
April 26: Chemo round 4.
got the sads. the why is this happening, it hurts so much, why does it have to be so hard sads.
just waiting for change, for something different, feeling weak and afraid that i’ll be stuck here forever, this place that feels so alone…
May 11: Chemo round 5.
pre consult nightmares.
can something be both traumatizing and healing?
my mouth tastes like i’ve been sucking on pocket change.
the smell of antiseptic makes me start trembling.
May 25: Chemo round 6.
halfway thru hell.