|Waiting in Line.|
No. I don't know why. Maybe I've got that weird Baron Munchausen disease, where you don't want to give up being sick. But I don't think so. My genius local therapist, Valerie Rhoda, writes
"The specter of cancer & the recurrences put a damper on any relief & joy because you don't, can't, really trust that it is gone. As you said you were prepared for chemo & odd as it sounds you now have to adjust to no chemo. Chemo represents actively fighting the disease, doing nothing is scary, it's passive"
I was really, really happy. It's just that I'm no wide eyed cancer virgin. I've been cured of this shit before. Twice. And the doctors always say some variation of "You're cured. But don't go too far."
It took a a couple of days to realize how strongly the assumption of chemo in my future had taken hold. The biggest tip off was during my next turn in the giant waiting room. I found myself scanning the room for women who had come up with interesting ways to tie their headscarves, and had to keep reminding myself that my hair wasn't going to fall out. Because I'm not having chemo.
See what I mean? I just can't quite get free of this. And if you write me and tell me I have to think positive I'll write you back and it will not be pretty. If my future depends on the quality of my thoughts, after all of this, then I. Am. Doomed.
No, I think I just "have my walls up" as they say on the Bachelor. ( Don't watch the Bachelor? I'm shocked. But every single one of the promiscuous ninnies that line up to be hosed by whichever fatuous himbo is this season's Bachelor announces that she has her walls up as a result of a previous heartbreak.That's usually about one minute before she takes off her underwear.) Leave me alone, I've been stuck at home for a long time
So that's what Bruno and I have been doing. But we sure didn't do it alone.
My friend Marti, fluent in Spanish and willing for reasons unknown to do anything for anyone lucky enough to be her friend, has been with us and we could not have made this transition from private care to the National Healthcare System without her. Leaving at 6:30 in the morning to arrive at the National Health Hospital in Guad in time to wait for four hours before spending twenty minutes with my surgeon, which is just long enough to receive a stack of authorizations written on post-its and scraps of file folder for appointments and tests to be scheduled at the same time in different places with a variety of specialty departments. ( We had to travel up and down stairs and back and forth across the building, making individual appointments at, respectively, plastic surgery, rehabilitation, Xray, imaging, and oh yeah, oncology.) Thanks to Marti and her Spanish and unflappable patience, and Bruno and his ....thereness, I have somehow managed to enter the Mexican Medical system and come out on the other side.
I have wanted, often, to somehow address the village that I live in and their participation in my recovery. I don't know how to do it. It is so much the stuff of the Disney movies of my youth, and so unlike the world I left behind when I moved here, that I just don't know how to describe the way that I have been held aloft for this entire time. Groups of people have coalesced into teams. Sometimes corralled into teams by friend who were born with the get 'r done gene.
Teams and individuals have kept me upright and fed, have groomed my dogs, and given me free passes for counseling, who have provided homemade gruel for the feeding tube when that was still going up my nose, who have kept me on a steady diet of bone broth which I believe to be responsible for the successful healing of my surgery. Fresh aloe vera and honey, cases of Ensure from Costco, handmade cards. Friends who have kept our refrigerator stocked and made sure that Bruno never went without lasagna. Friends who snuck around and collected anonymous envelopes of cash like it was hush money so there would be a little something to help. It's magic, and impossible to adequately describe. I would have to write a song, like Lulu in "To Sir with Love"
In minutes, there were so many comments and likes and words of support and encouragement, I felt like Kim Kardashian.
I want to be very clear about one thing. This isn't about people liking me, facebook thumbs or no. This is about the kind of people that live in this place and the the kind of place that it is. In other words, it's not me, it's you.
I wrote a story about community after my first Christmas in Mexico. As part of my project of getting all my stories under one roof, as it were, I've posted it here. It was a different community, but the magic is the same.