It bothers me…a lot.

It bothers me…a lot!

My life has been nothing I ever expected it to be thus far, mainly because of cancer. (I suppose) it’s cancer that changed everything. Ripped all my dreams, hopes and aspirations into shreds of anything that looked remotely familiar. We have been recovering ever since.

Remission certainly keeps me grounded. (Remission is not a cure and it only means the lymphoma has abated. Remission is humbling because it is by no means final, in either case: cured or dead. It’s in-between, undecided really…it just “is”)

Along the way life has handed me a chance to experience the unexpected and feel life at its fullest. Every breath taken since I was diagnosed on Dec of 2006 has been stolen. I beat death…each breath is amazing. Everything in between those breaths have been exhilarating. But sometimes with each moment stolen I am reminded that I should be doing more with my life…like I owe someone, somewhere… something for my existence.

Cancer changes your perspective and brings on a priority resetting and lifestyle shift you can’t imagine. To walk away from cancer alive and not be changed by it…? I don’t see how that is at all humanly possible.

But priorities do shift. They shift from the mundane and hedonistic to life-giving and life altering. Immediately the elements and people in your life that were time vampires are dumped into corners of your life you will never see again. Other people are elevated to different, richer places of note.

But slowly life changes that too.

The people who stood out and the things in life that you share grow colder each day and the commonality less familiar. The warmth from them that was once a comfortable as a favorite sweater on cool November morning is now just bearable and not as satisfying. Not as warm at all.

Like a sweater, relationships sometimes become threadbare and need to be mended. Sometimes they just present the obvious truth, that they no longer are useful and need to be put aside.

It bothers me a whole lot.

Material things are especially troublesome for me. It has to be because of my role in this life as a provider. I survived cancer (Thank God and my Oncologists and Surgeons) but when your ability to provide is compromised you feel responsible. Your kids need things and they want things. Your wife wants a nice anniversary or Christmas gift. You want to give them these things. You feel the need to accomplish these things, but your credit is severely damaged in the process and the economy collapsed while you were down and out. Once you were on your feet again ready to take on the world, the world itself was limping along. Opportunities aren’t the same. Markets soured and somewhere along the line your physical needs may have been met but emotionally you can’t catch up.

You’re lost and drifting.

You can’t really connect with anyone anymore. You can’t relate, you feel like you are always on the outside looking in, even if you have a great relationship with someone or with some people, it’s not what it appears to be deep down. It’s not as close as it used to be…I often wonder where Ebenezer Scrooge is because I feel like Bob Cratchet…or worse. I feel like Tiny Tim most of the time. A majority of the time my feelings are a front. My interest is feigned and in the end all I want to do is stay in bed.

But you…I mean, But I get up and get on with the day and my job and my relationships (at work or otherwise) because without this interaction surviving cancer would be for nothing.

You see those you love hurt by cancer. You see those you trust and who you have been good friends with no longer look or sound the same. It’s like life hasn’t fucked with them enough yet…they don’t understand what you went thru and what it feels like to be you.

They can’t truly know. Even if they have some shit in their lives, they can’t completely relate.  And you tell yourself this, you give them the benefit of the doubt. Every single day. You tell yourself this, between every single stolen breath. I tell myself this.

“They don’t understand” and you try to move on. You try to ignore the changing landscape around you but it’s happening too fast (or slow, it depends) not to notice.

I can’t being myself to deal with certain people anymore. I think at times that I am unaware of the switches constantly being thrown on and off.

“like/dislike”

“love/don’t love”

Click/Click…

It bothers me a lot.  

And I see and feel another shift happening as I write this. My wife asked me tonight as I was drifting off to sleep if I was happy where we are right now in life.

I told her I wasn’t in the right mind to answer her.

I slept for about 4 hours and then couldn’t sleep anymore. Here I am in the kitchen tapping out my answer….

NO.

No. But I am glad to be alive, but I am not happy about where life has left me. Where life has left us.

I can’t measure my life against someone else’s (that’s not entirely fair) but I am noticing what stings now and what I can’t get past anymore and if our priorities no longer line up…all that’s left is you, me and whomever are going to fade into the corners of our lives we no longer explore and we’ll settle there, forgotten and missing.

And I know this, because I can feel the disconnect has happened already.

And it seriously, bothers me.

It bothers me…a lot.

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. I think I can understand where you are coming from, but it is only an inkling of an idea.

    After nearly killing myself on a quiet post-prandial on Christmas Day, being given 50/50 at first triage at hospital, and eventually a mitral valve replacement I also have a sense of my personal mortality. However, that is several blocks up the street from where you been.

    If it is any help, the first lesson is to realise your present capabilities. I was told “Remember that you are no longer 42.” (the doc who told me that was another Douglas Adams fan and it was also my true age less 20). Your story will be different, but the realisation will be similar.

    My wife is a “clutter-buyer”. She acquires mathoms. At some time in the next few years we will have to move to a smaller house. The hardest part for her will be divesting a large number of those mathoms.

    You ring my bell because I too have realised far greater pleasures than the material world.

    Get out and enjoy that new world. It can be a marvellous place.

    Remember – “What is this world, if full of care // We have no time to stand and stare…”


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