Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Happy Thoughts... And The Lessons You Learn

Update... the 19th is the date for my PET scan, with the results likely known the next day or Thursday. So, the birthday week will be an interesting one. I'm starting to REALLY understand why "may you live in interesting times" is considered a curse.

This week has been spent throwing myself into work, as I fight off increasingly common panic attacks. Nerves have taken their toll -- I registered a BP of 162 over 91 Tuesday on the tester at Kroger's down the street, after a particularly stressful series of phone conversations with doctors' offices, health clinics and Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Which still hasn't actually approved the PET. But I need it anyway... and sooner is better than later in this case. It will either be a $400 bill for me.... or $4000. Funny how money stops being a paramount concern in times like this.

While she's forgiven me, and said she understood, I still feel bad that I cursed at my oncologist's PA on Monday when I called. "You told me last month, 'we think you may have cancer again... come back in three weeks and we'll tell you for certain.' That's fucking heartless, Kathy." I immediately told her I was sorry, and I knew it wasn't her fault or Dr. B's. This is just the way it's done with insurance companies... and, fortunately, mine is not the highest-priority case out there. Even if I do have cancer, and it's spread in the past three weeks... this kind expends most of its energy in growing, and relatively little in sticking around. That's why drugs kill it quickly (a relative term.) Anyway, she said she understood completely... odds are, I'm not the first person to say that.

Through all this, a thought has entered my mind that's been kind of hard to squelch. Last year at this time, as I was on my high from preparing to leave AG for Aero-News (I put in my notice in one year ago today)... someone fairly close to me was going through Something Bad, and I turned a blind eye to it. A part of me knew something was up with this person... but I ignored it, because I was so focused on My Happy Life, My New Wondrous Adventure.

Events later showed that something WAS up... and we haven't spoken since. We probably never will again. If there is one thing the ordeal these past nine months has taught me, though, it's a greater sense of empathy. I always thought I had it... but you never really know how callous you can be to those you care about, until you experience a little of the pain they go through yourself.

And so I say to this person, if they happen to read this... I understand now what you were feeling... at least more now than I could have before. I know what it's like to live in fear of something inside you rising up, no matter how you may try to suppress it, impossible as that can be. I know now how you were able to hold it together to those around you... while inside you were terrified, and completely convinced no one else could possibly understand what you were facing... until you simply break down in despair. Only then can you start to rebuild yourself, and become strong.

To my once-friend... and someone who I still think of quite often... I am so sorry I fell down at being your friend when you needed one.

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