A week ago, the chemo curls were long enough to where I pulled out my hair product and accessories. I felt like a girl again. Less than a week ago, knowing the nightmare of watching my hair fall out and me too vain to have it shaved, I went in for the hip-grandma look of what is essential a female’s butch cut. This halted some of my joy. It halted some of my fantasy that I was a normal person again—like one who doesn’t live her life around cancer every day.
I’m coming closer to grasping that Zen concept of the temporary. It’s liberating both my mind and heart. Nearly 50 years later, I’m actually understanding the words of the late philosopher, Alan Watts. This is a good thing. And it is not such a good thing.
This was a call to war. And the war ignited into full regalia when my guardian angels pulled the plug on my body on Halloween 2018 while I was in a second-opinion consult with a Mayo Clinic gynecologic oncologist. As pale as white paper, and barely able to breath, and worse — unable to control myself, I hurled and splattered volumes of gastrointestinal debris all over her office. Rushed to the ER, the final report read: severe anemia, hemorrhage gostrointestinal upper, malignant neoplasm of endocervix (HCC), and dyspnea — NOS (labored breathing).