Ponderings of a Cliff Dweller
One may ask of himself… what is it like to live… teetering on the edge of life… not knowing if tomorrow will bring the dawn into his vision… or if he will find himself in morning’s light of another world. I have pondered that very thought, as I would guess that many who are lingering in serious illnesses… given prognosis of a few weeks… a few months to live… have also had pass through their mind. What is it that gives us the strength to rise in the morning and make the coffee… feed the cat… open the front door just to inhale the aroma of the blush of a new dawn? How can we not just lie in the bed and wallow in our sorrow of a limited future that another has cast upon us… the thought that we may no longer be of this world… tomorrow?
I’ve known those that have given up… some of them very personally. Those that say the battle is just not worth it. Those who have allowed the physical weakness to take over their every thought of hope… confirmed by some very educated medical professionals that have advised them that statistics say… they will no longer be sitting in their favorite chair watching the morning news… sipping their favorite cup of coffee… by Tuesday.
I’ve known those that have lost their will to live. Those who have used the very medications given to them to ease their pain… to take their own life… before the disease of which they suffer does that for them. They are tired of suffering. They are tired of the pain. They are tired of the day after day treatments that often cause unfathomable suffering. They are tired of being mistreated by those who profess to be their caretakers. They are just tired of living.
Perhaps I am the one of un-normal-ness. The one who so desires to live… if only to shine his light upon just one more human being that has lingered in the darkness for far too long. My candle remains bright… even if there are those who cannot see it, for I know in my heart… there is still one… one who has been cast into the darkest of tunnels… that will someday… find my light reaching out for her… lighting the pathway into hope… into the love… of being human.
I have teetered on the edge now for many years. Sometimes I stumble, feeling the earth shift beneath my feet. I can see the cascading rocks sliding down the cliff… where I often lose my footing. On at least four occasions… It has been presumed by those of educated minds… that I would not be of this earth within a rather short period of time. Yet… here I am… blathering my soul into a journal that few will read… that even fewer will understand completely… though it will perhaps… bring a greater understanding to one who may wander in these words in some future point in time.
I can’t sit here and tell you that I have never been discouraged. I am discouraged every single day of the week. I cannot do all of the things that I wish that I could. I cannot even do all of the things that I ‘need’ to do. That is perhaps the most discouraging. There is no little fairy that will appear voluntarily to offer assistance to me in any form or fashion. I hurt. I’m short of breath. I can’t take a deep breath, talk for very long… or laugh… without coughing. I am extremely fatigued more often than not. Those things are also a bit discouraging at times. If I must confess the truth within this journal… I could say that I do have family… most of whom have distanced themselves from me for reasons unknown to me. Maybe that is just their way of dealing with such serious illness of someone they care about. Maybe their lives are just too full to deal with anyone else’s… and I can understand that… sometimes.
I would add this… When my mother became very ill with heart disease, we became closer… even though we had always been close. When my father became ill… we became closer… even though there had been considerable distance between us for most of my life. It was nice to once again become friends and to understand one another a bit better than we ever had before. Why family distances themselves from one another… without provocation… perhaps is not for me to understand.
So why am I writing this into my journal documenting my journey through cancer? Because these very emotions are what this journey is all about. Yes… there are the tests and their results… there are the treatments and their benefits… and the often severe side effects of those treatments… there is the good, the bad, and the ugly of medical professionals that diagnose us… treat us… and make us feel as though we are just providing them with additional income… or making us feel as though they truly care. I have been very fortunate in the care, the respect, the understanding and the kindness with which I have been treated by my radiology oncologist. The rest of those involved will remain without comment at this time… but all of you know that at some point in time… I will unload on those who fail the test of respecting another human being, especially of one who is very ill… i.e. The Veteran’s Administration Health Care System. There are so many veterans, much worse off than myself… who deserve much better.
I am awaiting the PET scan scheduled for Friday morning. Then the horrendous wait until the results of that scan are revealed to me on the following Thursday. As most of you know by now… I will attempt to obtain a copy of the CD that will be sent to my oncology doc… so that I may view the results before they are discussed with me by her. Not that I will understand everything in it… but my vision is still good enough to see glowing objects that linger inside me.
So… for the moment… I will await the injection of nuclear material into my veins… followed by sitting alone in a very small room for approximately an hour… pondering what may come… pondering what lies beyond the cliff… the edge of my humanness… standing in the doorway between this world and that of the next… teetering… on the edge. Of course… I have always loved the explorations of the unknown… with a curious mind… and if I was healthy… I’d just be dwelling on the edge of a different cliff.
I am so tremendously grateful to those of you who have taken this journey along with me… especially to those of you who also wander within the Vision of Poets site… bringing into my life… your light… your compassion… your hope… your healing energies… your hugs… your uniquely special ways of making me feel that I am not alone in this journey. My most heartfelt gratitude to all of you. I can only hope, that my sometimes flickering light has shined upon you as well… and brought to you at least a semblance of hope that you have so unselfishly and generously shared with me.
Thank you for reading my ponderings… and thank you for always sharing your light with me.