Fuck. This is the word that continued to run through my mind as I try to make sense of the chaos surrounding my situation. Initial tests confirmed malignancy in previously-remissed tumours in my neck and possibly my lungs., and now it’s doctor appointments planned, then cancelled by the hospital because they’re ill-equipped to handle the tests and treatments I will need. Transfers to hospitals in cities to which I cannot get on my own, paperwork signed a thousand times to assure every doctor has up to date records from my last go-round with the old dragon, and above all, a penetrating, terrifying silence, only kept at bay by the echo of that word.
I’ve been here before. I shouldn’t be so affected by it. But none of this is in my hands and nothing can be assuredly planned or expected. Whenever the phone rings my heart freezes for an eternity in a single second, followed by a pounding which sets my nerves and senses on fire. What will be cancelled next? Where will I be sent? Indianapolis? Chicago? Back to Seattle? How will I get there? How will I get back to the shelter? The questions pile up and the answers are never forthcoming.
I am dependent on a system I hate for it’s bureaucratic destructiveness. Bound on one wrist to the demands of a government that only cares because my data gives them a statistic on which to demand grant money, and bound on the other to charities stretched so thin that the resources are drained the moment they are provided. But a person with two masters not only loves one and hates the other, but has no energy for their charges as they battle both sides. What can be done?
I never wanted to use my website to rant; the idea of being a mere “blog” is repugnant to me. But consumed with fear and resentful of social media condensing everything to headline-length posts, I saw little other choice. I’m exhausted. I’ve braved the rain and the distances which I can walk to, but not back from, to get paperwork in order, to get my social security card and ID, and I don’t even know if they’ll accept the paperwork I have struggled to obtain. In fact, the Social Security Office closes early today. I don’t even know if they’ll see me in time.
And so begins my third battle with that dragon, cancer. It begins not with a bang, but with a whimper, but despite my anxiety, my ranting despair, I won’t let this kill me. I won’t be consumed by the stifling and suffocating silence. But for a quiet moment, I will throw my message in a bottle out to the sea of messages in bottles, in hopes I am heard.