Last night, I was diagnosed. Bone cancer. The prognosis wasn't good. I started chemo right away. My hair began to fall out. I considered short haircuts to ease the progression to full-on baldness. Two friends from my writing workshop were there. A friend from work. My mother.
The treatment center was located on lovely green grounds, but the interior was bleak--filled with the sick and the dying. The doctors and nurses were faceless, their speech muffled.
I remember thinking, "I don't think I can do this, but I have to." They opted for an insulin pump type gizmo instead of a port-a-cath for the delivery of my drugs. My skin turned gray. I got puffy from the medication. I looked in the mirror and barely recognized myself.
The fatigue was overwhelming, and the only energy I did have was fueled by frustration and anger. My spirit was devoured by worry. I worried about not beating it, about who and what I would leave behind, about what happens after your heart stops beating and your eyes close forever, about being shut out of the world of the living.
I woke up and was flooded with sadness. I stared into the dark, quiet room, my husband softly breathing next to me. I counted my heartbeats, trying to lull myself back to sleep. But my mind went backwards, retracing the vividness of the dream. My body tensed. "It wasn't real," I told myself. "Relax."
I told myself that it was just my mind racing around, throwing together people and places and events and making up its own story about the body turning upon itself, rogue cells indiscriminately attacking from the inside.
It wasn't real, but I can't seem to shake it.