Scan results.

The results from the CT scan are back.  CW: here there be dragons.  Read at your own risk.

 

 

 

CT imaging strongly suggests a cystic ovarian malignancy that has metastasized to the omentum and liver.  I didn’t even know what an omentum was before last night, and now I know it’s just about the worst place to find cancer: so bad that surgeons remove the whole damn thing if there is cancer anywhere near it, just to keep cancer from getting there.  It’s like a cancer superhighway.  It’s like giving cancer a Twitter account with half a million followers.  It’s like… okay, I’m out of clever metaphors.  I haven’t slept much.

 

The only question remaining now is how much suffering I’m going to experience, and for how long, before I die.

But isn’t that the question for all of us, really?
No, seriously.  It may sound like a weird deflection, but there’s nothing like knowing the manner and approximate timing of your own death to make everything turn strangely detached and philosophical.  The only real difference between you and me is that I know what’s going to kill me.  Tomorrow, after I talk to a guy who knows more about the latest modes of treatment, I should know the ballpark of when.  We’re all dying.  And we can all choose a way to feel about that.
The internet suggests that I can reasonably expect another year.  That’s enough time for me to set my affairs in order to my satisfaction and to say any goodbyes I need to say.   There is also the (less likely) possibility that I will live for many years, and cancer will just be another chronic condition I have to deal with now and then like my migraines or my BPD.
But here’s why it doesn’t really matter whether I have a year, or a statistically improbable five, or a miraculous, newsworthy ten: however much time we’re given, it’s never enough.  And most of us will experience some level of pain and indignity on our way out.  That’s just the nature of our fleshly conveyance; its exit strategy is not nearly as decisive and elegant as its means of creation.
So what I should do with however much time remains is exactly what you should do.  I should enjoy every moment that I can find something to enjoy.  When things go wrong with my body, I should try to treat them or minimize their discomfort.  I should make stuff, while I can.  I should enjoy my friendships and family, while I can.  I probably need to be a bit more efficient about this than you do… but then again, we never know.  Until about a week ago I was pretty sure I was going to see 100.  I had all kinds of elaborate long term goals I was pretty sure I didn’t really need to get to work on just yet.
But truth be told, even if I get a year or less, I don’t feel cheated.  I have already packed more into this nearly 47 years of life than most people fit into 100.  I’ve had epic romance and critical acclaim.  I’ve swum with dolphins and chatted with movie stars and stood in the room where Shakespeare was born.  I got to give birth to and get to know two amazing new people who will carry the best parts of me onward.  I live in a state where terminal patients are allowed some control over the timing and manner of their deaths. When the time comes, I will most likely get to drift off to sleep with a friend nearby, at a time of my choosing.
The next part of my life is going to be no picnic.  From what I understand, there will be a surgery where they take out half my innards.  I’ll probably be in the hospital for a week or more just for that.  Then there will be chemo and all that entails.  But I will have at least some control once I know my options, and I should be able to choose my exact end (assuming it doesn’t happen unexpectedly as a complication of surgery).
We all have different beliefs, but I have always had strong faith that we are more than just meat, that part of us is eternal.  I believe that even after I’m gone, the most important part of me will continue.  Even if that isn’t true, it doesn’t change the fact that I got more than my share out of this world while I was here, and I do not feel cheated.  I also know that I will live on via the lives I’ve touched (saved, a few have written me to say), the things I have taught others, and the dazzling memories and adventures — both real and fictional — that I’ve helped create.
It’s going to be all right.
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