I look back to two showers in late 2008. Struggling with my life direction a shower is an escape. A cleansing and pure experience. In the first I glance down and think to myself “my lymph nodes are up”. I have been feeling wrong for weeks before this. I say wrong, it is a strange way to describe how one feels, but sick is too simple although it is also true. I feel wrong, my lymph nodes are up; I believe now that I knew deep down I was very sick. I did a herculean job of ignoring that fact. The second shower, a few weeks later. “my lymph node is still up”. There are little red, painful lumps on my foot right next to the large red swelling that I was told again and again was scar tissue. My continued denial, although determined could not hold out much more.
Before long I was showing in hospital. Tests, scans, bloods and countless doctors. I know now why I ignored the problem so completely. I would do anything not to go back to hospital. I hate it more than I can describe. My life is tottering on the edge. I no longer really wish to continue to watch myself degrade. It is almost intolerable for a person who enjoyed so much physical activity. If I was a man who believed in a vengeful and vice despising god I would think myself being taught a lesson. Pride is natural, a person not proud of themselves is a sad person. Now my pride drags me down and holds me under. There is nothing left for me in this body. Only this mind continues to please me. My body, I love, but it is gone. Nothing can save it now. I grieve more than I thought possible.
And so I look back at those two showers and I do not blame the boy who pushed down any suspicion. What has become of me now is intolerable to the point where its contemplation is not possible. I grieve for my old life and I look to whatever comes next. Certainly life had little left to offer.
Oh, be proud of the lovely, intelligent and thoughtful person you are, Jerome, that pride will hold you up rather than drag you down.
I have nothing but pride and admiration for you and your strength of mind. I feel lucky to have known you since the very first day of high school, and know that you have had a massive impact in shaping my life. And despite the geographical distance you continue to do so everyday. You have taught me so much in these last few months of reading this blog. I look foward with all my heart to seeing you again in a few weeks time.
I really am glad to get on and see your blog, it really does help when i start feeling sorry for myself, i beat my cancer, but the degenerative arthritis and fibromyalgia makes me want me cancer back because it is something i could fight, but in reality i hated the fevers and scans and blood draws and dr’s every week because the chemo was so bad on me, thank you so much for sharing your journey and reminding me that I should be proud to be where i am today and thankful…