So I haven’t written in so long, and I’ve been featuring a lot of people. But thankfully, my mistress Moyin has cracked her whip and from now on I’m gonna have to write. 🙂
Anyways, we had this challenge where we would both write something the other person wanted to write. She wanted to write a story but was somewhat stuck, so I wrote it for her. She wrote something for me as well. I’ll put it up later this week. I actually had to do some research to write this, and it left me with a new found respect for… never mind, read it. Of course, your comments are always appreciated.
Apologies, it’s a tad long
These days my mind glazes just at the tip of my consciousness; forced there by pain so intense that I’m forced to exist within a small fraction of myself so I don’t feel it as much. They said that this pain was necessary. That it was a side effect to the treatment so that I’d be all better. But I’ve been waiting and waiting… the treatment and medications don’t seem to be stopping… and the pain they bring? Well, I’ve started to treasure the pain. It takes me on an excruciating trip to the edges of all that I know.
Yes, it seems like all I’ve been talking about is pain.
It started out with a little physical pain; that manifested itself in so many ways.
Weight loss that I didn’t need, and a small, tight feeling …somewhere… I couldn’t really pinpoint it back then. All I knew was that it was painful, even if only slightly, so I had it checked out. I endured the annoying pain of the needles pushed in my body and the equipment they used for all the multiple tests. Sometimes I wonder if it wouldn’t have been better to not know… to just go away somewhere where no one could find me and then waste away into a vortex of human nothingness. Would it have dragged on like this? I don’t even know.
The test results came back; pancreatic cancer. I wish I could say I took it well. I refused to accept it at first. The doctors said I was going through the eight steps of accepting tragic news… whatever. I fought, I cried, I begged, I prayed… and then I accepted. I finally took it as something I had absolutely no control over, but I would do the best I could to get through it. I probably took it better than everyone else. I didn’t want anything to change, but I could see them changing. I could see it on their faces when they looked at me. I became the one who they had to tip-toe around. They had to always be careful not to hurt me or hurt my feelings because I had cancer and all of a sudden I had become like some expensive piece of furniture that you had to be careful with so that you wouldn’t break me.
That broke my heart more than any of them realized. Me. I was the one that everyone always had fun around. Enjoying my youth to the fullest and carrying them all along with me. Now I became … the invalid. All I heard was “Don’t stress yourself” and “Take it easy, you know you’re not well.”
You don’t mean it… I never would have guessed.
Their pity tested my patience in ways they just couldn’t imagine. All the stares and the tip-toeing became like a large weight on my shoulders, making it hard to move or breathe. Some days I’d get so choked up from the air being clogged with fear and impending tears on my behalf that I’d just leave the house. Leave them all and just drive. Drive as far as I could go. Right down Lagos-Ibadan expressway till I was tired or till I had to turn back so when my senses kicked in.
At least that was while I could still drive.
The chemotherapy started early so that the cancer wouldn’t spread far. Treatment upon treatment… it just kept going on and on. The doctors said it was cos they couldn’t give me too much at once, so that it wouldn’t damage my body. Now that was amusing.
Less than a week after the therapy started, my whole body began to spiral downwards; I had to take more medication because I was falling to other illnesses, and I was constantly in pain. It was like a haze all over my body. The Yoruba people call it “paja-paja”, a pins and needles kind of feel. But this was so much worse and all over. Sometimes I wished I could skin myself alive just to stop the pain. And in the times when I wasn’t in pain, I was totally exhausted. My hair fell out. It was like, one day I had hair, and the next day, I was having a bath and suddenly I didn’t have any more hair. It was a bit shocking, but then I had never been too attached to the vanity of hair so it didn’t hurt as much as I’m sure it would have if I had been a hair person.
Slowly but surely, I began to look the part… I was “a cancer patient”.
And they said the drugs weren’t damaging my body… ridiculous.
My days in the hospital were full of so much boredom, I welcomed the pain when it washed over me in waves – at least it was some form of activity. The days passed into weeks, and at the end of the month of treatment, I had come to know all the nurses names, their boyfriends/husbands names, everyone that was having an affair, including that secretly gay doctor who had disowned his son because the boy had come out of the closet. Gossip had never really been my thing. I was just focused on getting through the treatments and getting better, and I was definitely happy when it was time to go home.
They threw a big party to welcome me home, but all I could do was put on a sallow smile and thank everyone kindly for the emotional support. All I wanted to do was sleep, and then start working on getting better. The doctors had said the cancer was in remission thanks to the treatment. Hopefully, it wouldn’t be back.
Getting better wasn’t easy at all. There was more pain, adjusting, walking… I hated being weak, and dependent. There was nothing as painful as having to depend on my little brother – I carried him when he was a baby. I taught him how to ride a bicycle, and now the tables were turned – to help me move around, and stay with me as I went through my workout and healing process, so he’d be there to catch me if I fell. But I healed with time, food, friends, family… everybody chipped in. It helped, and things got better. My hair grew back, and after a while, I was normal again.
That was a year ago.
Three months ago, I passed out while I was walking to the front door.
These days, all I feel is pain.