Day 3: Degrees of Bad
As I mentioned in my last post, the Hope Lodge is a sweet deal in a lot of ways. It’s kinda like the house of your richest childhood friend. Yeah, the one with the in-house movie room and basement game room. And much like during my visits to that house, I feel slightly out of place here.
It’s true that most people here seem to be over the age of 40, save for a handful of exceptions. But that’s not what makes me feel weird. After all, I’m someone who spent four weeks singing with an old man barbershop quartet choir. For fun. (It was also free, and there’s not much to do in Central NJ).
It could be that I’m in a new place, away from friends and family, but I don’t think that’s it. I love traveling and the experience of exploring a new place while being on my own.
No, I think what’s bothering me is that I don’t feel sick. In the strictest sense of the term I do technically have a form of bone cancer, but before coming here I never really felt like I did. In my pre-tumor days, the word cancer always elicited thoughts of frail bodies, bald heads, terrible vomiting spells and a slow, painful decline of liveliness. I have not felt any of those things (well, except for the bald head part. But that’s unrelated, so shut up!). I did have surgery, and recovery wasn’t fun, but it’s over. Now I’m in better shape now physically than I have been in 3 years and have been able to keep up with the Insanity program.
Some of the people I’m meeting here, though, do actually fit the description of “cancer patient” that most people would think of. Those that don’t look so bad have pretty harrowing tales of massive amounts of removed organs, painful treatments and questionable prognoses. I like being outgoing, but everyone here has a giant elephant in the room, and I’m still not sure what the best way is to address/not address it. On some level I feel guilty, but why? Because my cancer is less shitty than their cancer? That sounds silly to type, but yeah. That’s what it is. I feel bad knowing that while yes, this year has sucked enormous amounts of genitalia, the light at the end of the tunnel is there for me. On August 29, I have a 99% chance of my life returning to normal and this stupid little tumor of mine being something I check up on every year just to make sure it’s still not there. Not everyone here can be so confident.
Well, I’m going to try to feel less guilty tomorrow and connect with people here on a human level, regardless of where their prognosis sits on the shit-o-meter.
That’s all I got for today. Three treatments down, thirty-two to go.