Thursday, April 14, 2011

It's Alive! (beta)

I have been hanging on by the tips of my fingers. I don’t quite know how I got here, but I did. I have one insidious disease, and at no time has any doctor ever told us what to expect post-hospital. They’re just thrilled they can shove me out of there alive. (Day’s over. Let’s have a drink.)

Yes, I survived Hodgkin’s Disease like a trooper. A cancer with an unheard of ninety-eight percent survival rate. While technically I’m alive (I think, to join that two percent for real, I’d have to have truly dropped dead as opposed to faking it which I’ve been doing for the past four years. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. Dead people can’t count. Because they’re dead.) I believe I fell into the bin of two percent of patients instead of sailing through this mere trifle of a lymphoma.

I often forget I had cancer.

After four years I can tell you it could be worse, and it is, “my breath of sunshine” ENT becomes less and less cheery each time he sees me. He did give me a back-ended compliment yesterday though. He told me he had expected me to look much, much worse than I had when he first saw me many light years ago. Given how miserable last week’s CAT Scan is, I should look like a piece of shit.

To that, I’ll say to him and any others with similar expectations,” Au contraire.”

He took back his promise of permanent stents. These were to solve the hearing problem I’ve been suffering for months now. Instead, he put in another set of impermanent stents back in my ears knowing that they will fail, but may improve my hearing as we choose A HEARING AID. I have no more than the usual amount of hearing loss. Permanent stents require surgery. Surgery, infection. Infection, GAME OVER. Thanks for playing. Please follow lights at end of the theater where our ushers will tell which way you exit the building. (“For You, you take the BQE over the Kosciuszko Bridge…”)

So I ‘m also a member of the small group of people with complications that doctors’ usually find are a snap to fix. (I have four practitioners who come to my home to treat me in various and sundry ways. It doesn’t do anyone any good if I can’t hear them. It’s like there’s a scrim between me and the rest of the world.)

But that’s nothing. There’s The Skype of yesterday evening. Just me, Chip, and my psychopharmocologist. Nice and cozy.

Background: My drug-combo isn’t good. Not at all. I’m either tired or frightened. The sleepiness has to be my clever means of escape. Who needs therapists when I know myself so very well? Me, you toadstool.

I wanted to be crystal-clear to my psychopharmacologist about what was going on with me

Look, I’ve been doing this for four years. And it’s about all I can take. Nothing is pleasant. Nothing is fun. I feel sick every day. I’m petrified to exercise, because it makes my choke and gasp for air. I think I’ve had more than enough. And for me, death is my most appealing course. I want to die.

Was I clear enough?

He was really quite the gentleman and gave me props for four years of hell. He said he still wants to find a way to allow me to have some joy in my life. Lovely man. I was impressed. (I guess after all those years doing exactly this, he better be damned good. Otherwise, his office would be surrounded by piles of dead New Yorkers. Not a good look.)

My talk therapist who is one smart cookie. She said, “What you need are girlfriends.” (They could be boys too.) Yeah, like I used to have when I was I kid. When we shared everything and all. Okay, I don’t have that kind of staying power anymore. We’ll start with fifteen-minute visits and go from there. Whaddya think?

(Better than a visit to the theater.)


  1. I'm with the psychopharmocologist. Fingers crossed!

  2. My dear Franny, I so want to be one of your "girlfriends". Being gay qualifies me maybe? Anyhow my real motive is that if I make the list, I can maybe visit you in early October when I'm in town. Can I bargain? How about 10 minutes? Your blog is brilliant - I'm a regular. Your honesty, no matter how hard to digest at times, truly touches me. My love and admiration to you, Franny. Cousin David