Extra AF.

“Having Cancer is extra AF.”


That’s about it, folks. This is very extra.

There’s no being done with this shit, either. It just keeps hanging on. It’s really annoying that it just doesn’t want to go away. Teaching and dealing with Covidlandia and this 100% stupid POTUS and all the extra Cancer shit is just. No. No thanks. I’d like a new Choose Your Own Cancer Adventure, thank you.

I have to go in next week and have my breast sliced open again and have more tumor taken out. Apparently what they took out was about 1 cm/10mm. A golf ball, Dr. Surgeon said. But the margins are too close, so now he has to go in and cut more out.

Except this time I get to be awake for the whole thing and just have local anesthetic shot into my boob and he’s gonna fish around in there and cut the extra cancer out. Apparently I won’t have this sunken breast, and don’t already, because our bodies send a bunch of fluid to the injured site and eventually that fluid becomes a gelatinous blob. Puke emoji.

I had been waiting for my pathology report to be read and to have my surgeon call, but I forgot that’s who was going to call. So yesterday afternoon I called my medical oncologist, and she was, well, really rude. This is 3/3 times of being rude, so I am going to get a new oncologist. I’ll see that doctor the most, as they manage the cancer meds. Having a doctor that I can connect with is critical. I tried today, and stayed on hold for a while, but then finally gave up. Apparently oncology was super busy today, not a good day to ask for favors or help.

After talking to my surgeon’s nurse and then my surgeon, and learning about all of the details for the next procedure, I feel better. But I have today resigned myself to the fact that nothing is going to be smooth sailing or easy or without hiccups and complications. It’s just all going to be hard or at least annoying or maybe uncomfortable, and probably painful. It’s not going to be easy, and I’m frustrated that I have to acclimate myself to a “new normal” that includes so much body frustration. The truth is, no matter what I do and/or have already done, I cannot make the cancer go away. I can’t make it stop and I can’t make it end. All I can do is get up each day, teach and work, and keep moving. With the pain and the upcoming pain, running is probably out of the picture for a while. Especially when it snows, running is going to be ill-advised. So I’ll walk.

I decided a walk would be nice today, and I took Korra out. I’d read an article recently about “mindful walking with your dog,” and I tried to mindfully walk with my silly dog. She has to, to quote Katie again, “chaotically smell everything” for at least a mile. It’s not mindful. But perhaps just tuning in to my dog’s chaotic energy is the lesson. The last mile was calmer, but then I had the opportunity to see the summer washed away from my neighborhood and the icky decay of poverty and winter cast over it. It was, well–gruesome. One yard that has been an eyesore for a long time was more cleaned up, but it still has the detritus of old cars and machinery out front. Today it had the addition of a wheelchair.

I enjoy this house. The owners make firepits and cool. pumpkin decor out of old propane tanks. I was kinda stalking it today, and they were out front, so I had to take this quick pic. Gotta love the pig, the R2D2, the skeleton riding a motorcycle. This is a house I enjoy walking/running past.

My favorite house has its garden put to sleep. It’s sad, but seasonal. They tilled under their parcel where they grew all their veggies and it was tidy and neat.

Closer to my house, just a block away, is this pile of disgusting snow with oily mud in it. THIS is my childhood memory of snow in Montana. When we’d go to town this is what you’d see everywhere, and it’s so so gross. I’m always relieved when it snows again so it doesn’t look so dirty.

So my neighborhood and yard look a little pitiful now. The snow came down hard the day I had surgery and has started to melt the last few days and is mostly gone. But since the snow and ice were so intense this early in the season, they took down all the remaining leaves with them and now the world is brown twigs and dying branches. Everything looks so dead.

So I’ll keep walking. I’ll walk past all the dead things and the piles of wet dog poop on the sidewalk and the gross yards that look somehow hopeful in summer but really sad in winter. I’ll keep walking through each chapter of this cancer adventure, and I’ll just keep walking. I’m not Forest Gump, I’m not going to leave my neighborhood. But I understand why he had to just keep going until he got it all out.

While rooting for the cross country kids yesterday (in our appropriately socially distanced meet with masks unless we were running), I was remembering an essay I wrote a few years ago. There was a man that walked every day from Junction City to Halsey and back again, every day, back and forth. Not many people knew his story, but I asked around and learned a little. He was high and tight and walked in boots, a buttoned up shirt, and greasy old jeans. He was a veteran with a head injury that kinda snapped when his wife died. My friend Karen, a cancer warrior, had said to me back then, “he must have lots of demons to walk out.”

I have never forgotten those words, and maybe the walking will help me get rid of some demons, too.


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