When I discovered a tumor in my breast (it was a November Saturday morning 2008) I went back to bed. And in a nameless fear I promised my ceiling, the naked trees outside my window and myself that if I survived this I would never ever complain about anything in life. The negotiating phase. That didn’t last of course.
I survived. I got lucky in life’s lottery. And during what I call my year of reclaiming life l did not complain. I was filled with that life-enhanced feeling only experienced by people who have stared death in it’s eyes.
I don’t think it is possible though to stay in that feeling. Not because we forget how bad it was and that the ending could have been different, but because everyday life is just that and suddenly a back out or a dead car is a major obstacle we are not only complaining about but cursing. I don’t think human beings are built to be any other way.
My back problems are severe. But the situation and pain varies. Worst case scenario is excruciating pain from knifes running through my pelvis and sacrum, leaving me totally immobilized and terrified. In those moments I am promising myself (and my ceiling and the trees outside my window) to never ever complain about anything if it would just go away. I will be fully happy and satisfied with my life just lying on my couch in a more regular pain - which is still handicapping and weighty. I will be fully content as long as I don’t need to be terrified out of pain, surviving minute by minute!
Tomorrow it’s a month since my first acute situation this period. They have been about twice a week leaving me paralyzed and petrified. Friday morning I woke up lying on my left side. When turning over on my back there was a shooting in my left lower back. I hadn’t even gotten out of bed. And so Friday I was more or less apathetic from the worst muscle cramp I’ve had in a couple of years, and those knifes just waiting for me to make the wrong move, stabbing me. I would say my brain focus on my back was at 99% on the scale. And the negotiating starts. If only…
So why is it that as soon I am feeling just a little bit better I want more? Why am I not satisfied with just not being terrified - as I promised? My trees and everything.
Is it in the human nature to always strive forward? Develop? To not rest in place? The will-power to kick in and do it’s job? I am thinking it is. A survivor default. I know it is certainly true for me.
I have a friend and a relative who are struggling with cancer and chemo right now. I don’t have an illness. I don't see myself as sick. I know what sick is. I have been sick.