Tag Archives: songs

Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole

Dear Cancer,

I will not pretend
I will not put on a smile
I will not say I’m all right for you
When all I wanted was to be good
To do everything in truth
To do everything in truth

You bloody mother fucking asshole
Oh you bloody mother fucking asshole
Oh you bloody mother fucking asshole
Oh you bloody mother fucking asshole
Oh you bloody mother fucking asshole
Oh you bloody…

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Today is a year since I found the lump in my breast. I have spent all day not knowing how I feel, or how I should. Reflective? Celebratory? Self-congratulatory? Sick? Manic? Melancholy?

A year ago.  He found the lump; we had sex; he left. In retrospect: why did he leave me?

So I sat numbly at my desk not knowing whether to plan my lessons or save my life. I googled. From this, I determined I did not have cancer. I decided to sit on it, forget about it, be fine.

I’ve been having awful chest pains for a week. I hope it’s an infection. A strange thing to say, but what’s the alternative? I’m sitting on that too. I don’t even have a doctor. I’ve obviously learned nothing.

A year. How to commemorate? I didn’t really want to be alone today. But then again I did, because it’s a condition I’m trying to get used to. I went to the gym; I went to the store. I bought roses; the daffodils made me sad. I bought a teeny expensive bottle of mangosteen juice. I don’t know what mangosteen is, but it sounded exotic and promising.  I drank it like it might heal my broken heart.

Right now, this pretty much sums it up–

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Chesnutt’s Consummation.

I discovered Vic Chesnutt on the drive home from my BRCA test results [full story in this post from 12/02/09 ], drawn to his beautiful song about death, “Flirted With You All My Life.”

Remember how I was so taken with the line,

Oh death, oh death, really, I’m not ready’?

He died on Christmas Day.

Oh death, you hector me
You decimate those dear to me
You tease me with your sweet relief
You are cruel and you are constant

When my mom was cancer sick
She fought but then succombed to it
But you made her beg for it
Lord Jesus, please, I’m ready

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Results are in

& I do NOT have a BRCA mutation.

Which is, yes, good news. Who wants to take me out for a martini? But my sense of emotional relief is tempered by the rational knowledge that this relief is largely artificial and unfounded, since I’ve already had f-ing cancer, and could die from it still.  And there’s no certain explanation for it now; cancer being genetic & all, not having the BRCA mutation likely means there’s some other genetic malfunction in me that hasn’t been discovered (and patented) yet.

I am taking the same course of action in light of these results as I promised myself I would if I tested positive: ie, doing nothing. But do feel blessedly exempt from that pressure of BRCA-scaremongering into preventative surgery.

I really wonder whether there is something defunct with my primal sense of self-preservation. I’d probably feel differently about preventative surgeries if I had children, or a life’s work, or anything else to live for. But I thought about it as I lay in bed this morning, hitting the snooze button over and over, and came to the same old conclusion: how presumptuous it seemed to act as if my life was really all that important–and how pointless it seemed to go through such great pains to prolong it.

Which is why I am dreading my upcoming mammogram, and why I have not called for the results of the CT scan I had six weeks ago. If I have cancer, still or again, I don’t want to know. I don’t want any more treatment. It’s terror and desperation, exhaustion and depression. But I can’t sustain myself on any of that, and I don’t want to.

(I am eligible to be tested for Li-Fraumeni syndrome, but would have to pay $3,000 for the privilege. And really, there’s not much point in knowing anyway, since there’s nothing anyone can do but wait for you to get brain tumors and leukemia and all the rest.)

I’m still obviously at risk for a new breast cancer on the left side, or for a recurrence/metastasis of the primary cancer. But I realized the full implication of the negative test result about twenty miles from the hospital, and burst into tears in the middle of traffic on I-79: as far as I know, I’m at no greater risk for ovarian cancer than the rest of the general population.

And I thought of all the women walking around with their ovaries inside of them, not even thinking about it, certainly not shedding tears of joy on the interstate over it, and felt strange–but strangely elated.  Even if I can never have children, there is something psychologically comforting about keeping those bits where they belong–and not having to defend to the death my decision to do so.

Then on NPR, an interview with Vic Chesnutt, & this rather incredible song:

Vic Chesnutt – Flirted With You All My Life

which he described as a “breakup” with death & the temptation of suicide.

Bizarre how Fate sometimes supplies a soundtrack.

Oh death, oh death
Really, I’m not ready

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Your next bold move

Last night I cried myself to sleep for the first time since I’ve been home, which is pretty good, I think, considering I’ve been home almost eight weeks.

What was partly a blessing but now seems the biggest curse about this cancer is that it occurred precisely at a moment when I was loosening my grip on everything in my life. I was getting ready to leave the country, to start all over again, ie. to do what I have always wanted to do.

Except now I am left without a single thing of my past life to cling to–no relationship, no job, no friends. I am thousands of miles away from the one I love and will remain so for good; I have become a person I do not know how to explain, and find myself desposited in a place I no longer recognize.

For awhile I was cultivating this grand fantasy of progression, of forward motion, of being in a place where I feel alive, of salvaging friendship, of working and feeling purposeful and better for once. Instead, an impossible stasis. And it is a shame because I believe I am smart and capable and could be useful to the world in some way, and instead am stuck here doing stupid things like crying myself to sleep.

In other circumstances, one could afford this–that a few months in painful transition would seem a paltry blip in comparison to the rest of one’s life. But I’m no longer in a position to compare things to “the rest of my life.”

I can’t express what I intend; I keep writing the words and deleting them because no matter how I put it, it is morbid. It is not a death wish, but everything I have to live for is hypothetical.  

I listen to this song a lot. For me, trying to navigate my way out of this cancer nightmare is exactly this: “your next bold move…the next thing you’re gonna need to prove / to yourself.”

Except that as hard as I try, it turns out I’m not moving anywhere.

ani difranco, “your next bold move”

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