I wasn’t chugging barium in New York. Or going under the knife in San Francisco. I was escaping the daily grind in a seaside village in Mexico. For the first time in two years I took a real vacation. For ten days, I didn’t think about cancer once. Okay, I lied. Once.
The beach in Sayulita, Mexico was the worst of Berkeley and the Jersey Shore combined: Waifs in dental-floss string bikinis, spontaneous drum circles, hordes of white people with dreadlocks, big boned Americans riding on sagging-backed donkeys, locals hocking cheap bracelets, coconuts, and shabby straw hats. Instead, I spent my waking hours lounging on a secluded patio overlooking the ocean with birds swooping above and an enormous stack of books by my side. Bottom line, in Chicago or Mexico I’m still a reclusive geek.
Amid our tropical oasis, I said to Shannon (my husband), “If I ever need hospice, can you scrounge our cash and make it go down in a little rental apartment in Florida with an ocean view?” Florida’s gotta have great in-home hospice right? And hopefully it wouldn’t pan out like my ‘RAI-131 Trader Joe’s flower fiasco’. (Strung out on meds and adamant that only the beauty of flowers would sustain me through radioactive isolation, I blew sixty-bucks on ten bouquets, and crammed them into my studio apartment. Once I was dosed up, the smell and site of them made me want to puke and I chucked them immediately in the trash.) Would I like-wise get to my little hospice huddle in Florida, and think, “Eh? Maybe the damp Chicago winters do feel like a better place to die after all.”
I was ready to spiral into the mind racket of wondering if it’s just creepy-weird that I am a 36-year old woman in a tropical paradise making hospice requests of my husband when death is hopefully not yet knocking on my door. But I stopped myself. “Fuck it,” I thought. I’m a cancer patient. I can think about death whenever and wherever I damn well please. And with that, POOF, the idea of cancer never entered my head for the rest of our trip.
This once again proves my theory that by letting creepy-weird-morbid-downer-cancer-thoughts cross our minds, pass our lips, enter others’ ears, they can release us from the mental torture of this disease and in the end, help us lead happier, healthier lives.
Whether you are a young adult cancer patient or not, do you let your mind express morbid little thoughts like what if my boyfriend has a heart-attack on the train tonight? Or, who will get my i-pod if I don’t make it home from the hospital? Or do you tuck the mental nasties away in the recess of your mind?
P.S. – Thanks for all of your emails while I was away! I’m glad to be back blogging.