Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Disease Model

One of my best friends thinks her cancer is back. She would know.  She's technically a "Cancer Survivor", she made it to the five year mark.  It was five years of a hell filled with chemo and recurrences and twice a day radiation marathons.  I used to voice useless platitudes to patients with the same diagnosis as my friend's while at the same time I was speaking out the side of my mouth in my all-knowing callous nurse voice to my cohorts in the health profession.

I would say, "It always comes back." And they would nod in that smug way nurses have.

I don't want it to be true. I want her to keep believing, to keep fighting.

She won't talk about it. I think she's finished fighting.

I hate this fucking disease.

I used to roll my eyes when someone called alcoholism a disease.  "It's an addiction," I argued, again all knowing.

A friend of mine quit drinking several years ago, he had to if he wanted to get on the liver transplant list.  So he quit and he got the transplant and he stayed quit through organ rejections, and multiple complications and several near death experiences.  And very few good days.  The last time I saw him he was riding one of those motorized scooters, he had no teeth, and his belly was swollen to about a nine month pregnancy size. I didn't recognize him.

When he quit drinking everybody said he would start drinking again.  I told them I didn't believe he would.

I talked to one of the friends from my home town last night, she said she had seen him at the VFW and he was drinking.

My first thought is, "Who could blame him."

I hate this fucking disease.


  1. Oh, Kary I'm so sorry about your friend. And I totally agree with you on the is it or isn't it thing about addiction. I think it's a mental illness that some of us give to ourselves (some people I think have it practically from their first drink/drug others of us work really hard to acquire it for some reason).

    Hang in there, my friend

  2. Sending a big cyber hug your way today. {{{{{{Kary May}}}}}}

  3. Me too Kary. And now I wait in fear while my children get ready to go into the world and I pray this goddamned disease, addiction, affliction or whatever doesn't get to ten too.

    I hate this fucking disease too.

  4. Oh god. This is intense and sad. Are you feeling ok? Sometimes life is just one big blob of shitty shittiness isn't it. I am sending you a big cyber hug too xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  5. Thanks guys. As far as my friend is concerned, I will try to raise the subject one more time before I leave here in two weeks because I know that if her cancer has returned, things could deteriorate rapidly in the 6 months I am back in the states and that I may never see my friend "well" again. She is also returning back to the states for a visit at the same time I am and my hope and prayer is that, if I or another one of her friends down here, is unable to convince her to go to her doctors, her family will and that she will have faced this issue in time to do something about it. She has said that she will never go through treatment again but that perspective sometimes changes when a person is faced with the certainty of death if they do nothing. We humans are stronger than we know, but we knew that, didn't we.