The life in the diary – XIX

Fiction
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May 17, 2013

I am so confused nowadays. I did not want to put these in writing, as I believe writing things solidifies them, but I guess I gotta talk to at least myself about it.

I met this man a couple of days ago at our work place. He is one of these new recruits that does an amazing job. He is humble though, not hinting much about his success or capabilities. He does not over-look those he meets or talks. Nor wear designer suits that do all the talk. No. He is just a regular guy with a nice attire, perfect manners, and humility. I like these in him.

He looks so healthy and full of life. He also happens to show interest in me. That is what I react to strangely. I do not want it.

Compare him with me and I see a sick person. A person who has been struck not once but twice. I am not naive to think that it is over yet. I know my chances. And chances are scary.

I cannot breathe sometime when I remember these. Fear suffocates me. Depresses me. I want to quit all for once and all. The truth is that I am more scared about these thoughts than the future health-related risks of mine. It is a vicious cycle. The only way is to distract my thoughts from them. Changing from one mental state to other, from one world of thoughts to other, is tiring. But at least it gives my mind a chance to breathe.

I want to rebel at life sometimes. Where was the nice life full of goodness and happiness? The life that we grew up with reading in the fairy tales. I am upset with this entire process; noone prepares you for the life as it is.

I am no longer a kid. I think you stop being a kid when you face life alone for the first time and then it is never the same after that.

I feel like a damaged good. Something that is not good enough. Something unreliable, unstable, unwanted. I cannot get rid of these thoughts even though I know that I should keep going and even though I know that I survived hard times and possibly am stronger than I think I am. Yet, it has not happened yet.

Whenever I find hope and excitement in life, something inside me reminds me that it is of no use to want these. That I am not good enough to even hope for things that I would otherwise be entitled to. Like taking up a new job with more responsibilities. Like putting down a mortgage and buying a house. Like imagining the next day, the next year, or my old age and retired life. Like falling in love. No, I no longer have the right to dream – my wings are broken permanently.

When one cannot dream, then what is left of the meaning of life, what is left of the joy of life?

I like the fact that he is interested in me. But, no – I cannot want it…

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The life in the diary – XIX
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The life in the diary – XVIII

Fiction
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May 12, 2013 (cont’d)

Today, I am feeling the heaviness that follows the realization of having lost a whole part of my body.

I have lost a whole part of my body….

What had they said when I was first diagnosed? “it is quite likely that it is only a part of it is affected; we will only take this part and leave the rest so that you can have a functional gland, however partially.”

I had felt good about this; knowing that I would not give up on the whole thing. I would not lose it altogether.

Now, there is none of it.

A part of me which served me well for a very long time. A part of me that has been separated from me in cold blood, examined in a damp, formaldehyde smelling laboratory, dissected and stained in I do not know how many different ways, parts of which were put in a biological waste bin, only to be incinerated later at an unknown place to me. Twice for that matter…Twice..

Twice I said goodbye to a part of me.

I am sure with no care or love it was handled. Maybe the pathologists said “There, another piece of specimen. Let me finish this and then meet with my friends this evening. Cannot wait..” Thinking about this me makes me sob more violently.

Poor thing… After all these years being a part of me and doing a miraculous job, it developed sickness and it is gone.

It made me sick, too.

Should I hate it?

Hate is a stronger feeling than love, but no, I can not hate it.

No matter how many times I think about blaming it for my disease; for feeling like my body betrayed me; for feeling frightened and saddened about the darkness and pain I endure or for the anxiety caused by thought of what the future may bring to me; or how victimized I feel knowing that I now was literally a damaged goods, no, blame did not play well. These made me frightened and sad, but I never, not even once, felt blame towards it.

I rather blame myself.

For losing it.

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The life in the diary – XVIII
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The life in the diary – XVII

Fiction

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May 11, 2013

It is one of those days that I feel cheerful for no reason.

I grabbed my jacket and left the house for a nice walk. The fresh air is so lovely; feeling it on my cheeks, on my skin. Time to time there is a little breeze that caresses me. The sky is open and blue and it is around 25 C. It is a perfect spring day 🙂

As usual, I walk with my hands in my pockets – for some reason, that makes me feel good. Very good. It automatically puts a smile on my face and lift my upper back up. No more sluggish walking. Confidently and cheerfully I start to walk.

The street is wide and long; I can see the road ahead crossing it and the shops at the far end. They have bright colors, these shops do. I know they are doing this on purpose to appeal clients. Well, they are doing a good job by getting my attention as well as by making me feel grateful for what I see. Not surprisingly, I am a good customer of one of these stores.

I enter the store. I love this store as there are so many items that I regularly love to check. I for sure forget everything by just focusing on their items. And their prices and variety options. I have got my most cherished CD in this store years ago. I loved it so much that I had also bought a copy for a cousin of mine. The personal grooming and cleaning products are my favorites; I love the lip-stick that I keep buying from this store, for example. It is a glossy cherry-brown; neither too red nor too brown. It lifts my spirit up while also preventing them from drying. I love my lip-stick…

I do not buy anything this time, knowing that I am rather on my way to a long and relaxing walk. I leave the store, turn right, and start to walk down the street towards downtown. My home is located right at the perimeter of downtown, so it is 10 minutes walk to it. I feel excited about this. I always loved being around people, around movement. There is some kind of energy that transfers right into me. Maybe I am an energy-Dracula (this idea makes me chuckle 🙂 )

I do not have a definite plan as to where to go. I am free to go wherever my feet carry me, free to stop wherever I wish. The freedom, the feeling of having no rush, is giving me serenity, a mental chill. Not the bad type. Like water distinguishing a fire. It cools down my nerves and makes me breathe just fine. Slowly. Steadily. Peacefully.

I see a little store and get in. This is the store whose coffee I like. The hazelnut coffee!… Smell is mesmerizing me…. I buy a large cup, pay the clerk, and get out to continue my walk. I am in love with the smell and the taste of my coffee. I smile for no reason and shrug my shoulders as if to say “I do not care about anything, anyone, or any memory right now; this moment is mine and mine only. And I am enjoying it“.

I look at another cafe on the right side. I come here time to time, not for the coffee but for the fresh pastry. During spring and summer months, it is a great pleasure to sit at a table outside while eating fluffy pastry. Watching people walking up and down the street and feeling the sun on my skin…

Come to think about it, I have so many things that I like about this city and about my life. Who is happier than me right now? Who can possibly be? I have a lovely drink at my hand, walking in a fine spring day. I feel happy. For no reason or little reasons. I am lucky to have all of these.

I stop at the lights to wait for our turn. I remember how I had once skid and fell in the middle of the road in a winter day. It was my first experience with the black ice; never saw the darn thing. People had offered to help me get on my feet. For such a big city, people are great; they have not forgotten to be considerate and helpful. I love these people. I love this city.

Finally it is green light and I walk in between 30-40 people towards the center of downtown. There is the organic store on my left I check time to time. Teas and spices are my interest. Especially one of the herbal teas; I cannot remember its name. It is odd but I affirm that I will remember it later. Better yet, I can go to store anytime and recognize it by its look. I have a good memory still yet.

I contemplate about visiting the book stores a couple of streets ahead. I have spent so much time in them, often to distract my paining mind that I do not want to get in there today. I shake my head and continue. I love books but I need not to remember my pain. Not today. Not now. Not for some time.

I glance at the tall building on the right side. I used to live in that building once. Whenever I am around, I look up to see my ex-flat on the 30th floor. The glass window in the living room was awesome, as it would show the downtown with no reservation whatsoever. I could see not only the buildings around, but the hot dog stands, the bus terminal, and a little bit of the harbor at a distance…. People were everywhere… The nights had the best view; the lights scattered around the dark blue sky and the brown sidewalks. Even in the middle of the night, this city was alive. Energetic. Awake. Listening. And with it, I would lie awake on my couch, listening, but mostly lethargic. Sometimes crying, sometimes thinking. But mostly peaceful and serene.

I loved that flat and my life in it. Come to think about it, I had hard times there too, but it is the best things, best and happiest memories I tend to remember. Making peace with my past seems to come to me naturally. Only after years of remembering all of course….

to be continued

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The life in the diary – XVII

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The life in the diary – XVI

Fiction

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May 6, 2013

I am feeling a little bit better today.

I had a nice walk around the beaches area. To me it is a small, lovely village in a big, big city. What a nice change of atmosphere in such a short distance.

I walked around the beach, sat on a bench for an hour so, ate a hot-dog and drank my tea. Yep, I have got a hot-dog; not necessarily the best food in the world 🙂 I feel like compensating for this by drinking the tea; a nice hot cup of papaya and mango tea. It smelt so good that I had to close my eyes for a second and enjoy that feeling entirely. That moment felt good… I am pleased to have delightful moments. However transient they may be….

I think feeling the sun on my skin cheered me up today. What is it about the sunlight that is so energizing, so nourishing? Science says it must be the hormones that are regulated by the sunlight. And maybe it is the vitamin D my skin cells produce when exposed to sun light?

Vitamin D… That brings to my mind the recurring question – I do not know what to do about the supplements. Should I take them? Should I not? Some scientific studies suggest that they are useful. But then the regulatory institutions/organizations say that it is premature to make a definite conclusion about the health benefits of many supplements. All these internet sites that promote them, all the people they say they benefit from them. Whom to trust? What to do? I feel stuck at a corner. What if they are useful? What if I am missing something by not taking them? Or, what if taking them would not benefit me, worse yet, harm my body? What if I would think it was fine to eat whatever I want as long as I take the supplements, as I would believe they would do all the good? No, I m skeptical. Way too skeptical…

That is so tiring…. Trying to make decisions fast, many all at the same time. Considering cons and pros of all these things that are new to me, new to my life. I am in a constant rush, carrying with me a heavy load of impatience. That stresses me;  the more hurriedly my mind tries to make a decision, the darker my psyche gets; I feel unhappy, confused, inefficient.. My shoulders sink – I do not want these feelings. To run away from them, I get up and walk away from the bench.

I love seeing the families with children, parents, and dogs; they are busy enjoying this beautiful spring day. That feeling eventually turns into resentment, though. Why can I not enjoy my life? Why was I denied this?

What is more unfair I wonder; to get cancer, or to get frustrated by others’ happiness, health, and joy?

I am very close to hating myself for this ever-expanding selfishness. I gotta remind myself that not everything is about me.

But then it is; is it not?

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The life in the diary – XVI

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The life in the diary – XV

Fiction

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May 5, 2013

It has been a month that I finally left the hospital. I had a hard time leaving the unit and coming back to my home.

I still am not content with living in my flat. Nope. There is no one to chat here, no one to bring the meal, no one to ask how I am. No one to care about my body.

I feel lonely at home.

It is almost spring. I try to push away the negative thoughts. The harder I try, the bigger they get though. I almost hate my mind for doing this.

It is strange that I feel like I have “two me, two minds”; one is protective of my body that I should care. This mind of mine would do anything to protect my body from that disease. I would eat the best meal, do the best exercise, take the deepest breath, visit the best doctor I can get.

Then, I have my other mind that does all the tricks to divert me. It is selfish and certainly egoistic. It says “I am tired” when I want to walk; “let’s eat fried chicken” when I want to eat a nourishing meal. I am so confused about these duality – am I losing my mind? Will I have to add a therapist to my list of doctors soon?

Who would know a disease could do these to a young woman at the peak of her career, energy, and youth? I had hopes, plans for my future. I was confident, happy, smiling, and laughing. Now all left from me is someone who just calculates every single activity around whether it is good for her body or not. I constantly remind myself how fragile I am.. This is scary, demoralizing, so oppressive….

On top of that, when the selfish mind is around, it becomes much harder. I am on a constant battle to help heal, help protect my body. The majority of the time, I fail in doing so. The majority of the time I force myself to start all over. “Tomorrow it will be fine. Next time I will do better.” I say. But that “tomorrow” does not come and stay for long.  It is an endless, furious battle. What if I completely lose my battle with my selfish mind one day? What if I do not heal completely as a result? I am so running out of confidence. I am so running out of energy.

I feel weak.

Heal my body, heal.

Help my mind, help.

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The life in the diary – XV

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The life in the diary – XIV

Fiction

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March 1, 2013

It is 4 weeks that I have been living in this hospital.

My life is pretty much shaped with my hospital room, the imaging departments, the patient library, and occasional visits to the gift store.

There are times that I feel like I am losing my mind; how did this this active, hard working person turn into a hospital rose?

“Hospital rose” is the nick name one of the house-keeping staff gave me. Now that I was a regular and apparently thriving in the environment, despite the tests and the hospital stay, he said I was the “rose” in this cold, depressing, and ironically healing place.

There was a song called “Desert Rose”?

Many people including me are perplexed with how well I am doing in my daily activities and with my interactions with the hospital staff. I just lost some weight. I blame the lame hospital meals. Under different conditions I would be excited to have lost weight, but knowing that my body needs energy to heal, I am eating as much as I can.

I have a choice to eat from the gift shop yet the selection is limited and not necessarily the food I long for. I wish I could walk 10 min away, go to that little Jamaican place, buy three beef patties, and start eating them right away. They have always been one of my favourites; the warm pastry filled with beef and hot spices. One of my nurses somehow mentioned that she could get some outside food for me should I wish. Should I wish? I do wish! Maybe I will ask her tomorrow. I am just scared that once I get outside food, I may just realize how bad the food here is and refuse to eat it all together.

Dreams are endless here – I love thinking about things I would do when I finally leave the hospital. Beef patties, the visits to the bookstores, the long walks around the city, a mini-vacation somewhere, shopping for new clothes, having a hair cut, and cooking myself. Thinking about all of these cheers me up. Mind is interesting; dreams are healing.

My family does not suspect anything. I call them at the weekends. I did not mention about my ordeal, though they are worried about my voice; it is still hoarse. I keep telling I am seeing a doctor and she is taking care of me; it should be a bad infection and will hopefully clear soon.

I hate myself for doing this to my family. But what are my other choices really? Tell them I have got cancer for the second time?  I have had a recent surgery and am in the hospital? I am lonely and scared? I think sometimes I am losing my sanity? How is any of these good news?

I do not know how long I can hide the truth, how long I can protect them from harm; but I will try as long as I can. How will they feel when they learn? I have no idea. Will they feel I denied them the right to care for me, support me, be with me? Will they be saddened beyond my imagination? Will they feel deeply sorry for me, which will sink their hearts, or will they hate me for being so cold-hearted, which I will deserve?

Pain…

There is no escape from pain.

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The life in the diary – XIV

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The life in the diary – XII

Fiction

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February 24, 2013

I am placed in a new single-bed room; my isolation from the rest of the public, even though not strictly, still continues. No mingling with others, especially pregnant women and babies/children, continuing to flush the toilet twice, using only disposable cutlery and plates. The garbage is collected carefully and placed in a special disposal bag. I did not ask about this this time; “its contents need to cool down a couple of weeks before it can be dumped” I was told last time.

Although this is my second time going thru this treatment, although I have been there before, I continue to feel like a disaster, something harmful, something unwanted… I have 12 more days to go like this. “Being extra cautious, that is all“. The radiation in my body should not be harmful to anyone else as long as I keep my distance. That is what they said. That is what they had said the first time, too.

But this does not mean it is not harmful to me. I wanna scream sometime… Nobody, not even nurses, approached me more than 4 meters in the first 48 hours. I had to take showers at least twice a day; flush twice, suck candies or chew gums to protect my salivary glands from the effects of radiation, drink gallons of water, and furiously apply lotion to my body and hands to circumvent dryness induced by extreme washing. On top of these, I had to calm myself saying that radiation was in fact good for me; it was going to kill the blooming cancer cells. It was my door to cure. This too would pass….Yet, not for even a moment, I could dis-acknowledge that my body, my normal cells, were also at risk.

I was given the radiation in a pill, which I dutifully swallowed. Once I took the pill, I was officially “hot”. The nuclear medicine expert, standing meters away, tried to joke by saying this I guess.

I did not like the nuclear medicine expert from the beginning on. A tall, confident man. Asked me where I was from. I wanted to snap back asking”why?” but answered anyhow. Whoa… It turned out our nations had battles sometime during  the deep, long history and my nation was certainly not one their favourites!! Ok…. why did I need to be told this? I fumed inside. In a moment, I transformed from feeling incredibly vulnerable to feeling like a hard-rock impasse. I took my revenge when he asked me whether he could sit on my bed to start explaining the cons and pros of the treatment and when I said “sure, please sit; you are old.

I broke a large victorious smile.

He?

Startled.

Oh, yeah; I love myself:)

He came with a young fellow, who never uttered a word during the half an hour pre-treatment consultation. I assumed he was a resident or a medical school student shadowing the expert. Before they leave, I wanted to tell him “we are vulnerable and anxious; we need comfort, assurance, and compassion from our medical teams. Please, whatever you do, please do not aggravate your patient.”

I did not say anything but I hugely regret this now; maybe this young fellow would contemplate on what I would say. Maybe it could help other patients.

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The life in the diary – XII

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The life in the diary – XI

Fiction

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February 20, 2013

Now that I have mostly recovered from my surgery, my surgeon ordered my radiation treatment. I am to go to the isolation room and spend 2 nights there. Do I dread it? Last time was pretty boring. This time I am experienced. I was told that the room had a TV and I managed to purchase some treats from the giftstore this morning. And a book. A crime novel. By an author I have no idea about. Nevertheless I am grateful for its distractive potential.

I have been to the “library” almost everyday in the last one week. There are around 200 books scattered around. Seeing them, exploring them excites me big time. I was told I was welcome to read as many as I want. I just cannot take the books out of the room. That does not make me happy at all, but I understand. Ten minutes in it and one can see that this room functions more than just being a reading room; this is where the patients and caregivers find a chance to chat with someone else. Maybe they appreciate this opportunity as they forget for a while where they are, what they are. Or maybe they dislike this “opportunity for distraction” as much as I do; in my experience the distraction  disappears as soon as I leave the library and the heavy thoughts and emotions come back full force. There is no escape from them. Only transient breaks.

I am surprised by many of my reactions to this “new” life here. Faded-blue and battered hospital gowns are no longer bothering me, for example. I wonder whether it is the bathrob I brought with me that creates this indifference in me towards the gowns. And the slippers. One gotta appreciate the little pamphlet they give the patients during the pre-op appointment; there is a section about what to bring in…. Anyways, incidentally, my rob and the slippers are also of blue colour. Yet, they are softer. Much softer. I not only appreciate how casual and comfortable they make me feel, but I am also in love with their thick, slush texture that keeps me warm and makes me feel like an individual. Not another patient in a faded-blue gown. An individual. This thought inevitably straightens my shoulders; I am not a victim; I have control over something.

It is almost 10am. They will pick me up for the radiation treatment soon. I should leave with the nurse whatever I do not wish to be contaminated with radiation. These also include my bathrob and slippers.

I feel a sudden rush of shakiness.

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The life in the diary – XI

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The life in the diary – X

Fiction

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Feb 15, 2013

My boss made a great gesture today and sent me a nice bouquet of flowers! The mixture of green, orange, white, and yellow is a must see! One of my nurses brought them to me with a great smile; “look what we got for you!!!?”.

She is, I am sure, curious. I have been here for some time, had a surgery and am going through further tests. But no one came to visit me. No care-giver, no family, no friends.

They do not ask why. I love this about the nurses – never say or do something that will upset the patient. I feel protected by the nurses. Once when the other patient used to stay in the room and had chatty visitors, one of them had said “please keep your voice low, my patient here needs a rest”.

This patient has been for ever grateful to hear this.

We decided to put the flowers next to my bed. Their smell is very refreshing – kind of dominating the medicine-like scent of the bed linens. For the first time since I am admitted, I feel like normal.

My boss had the card signed by my colleagues – going thru the short messages of good wishes delights me… My first personal encounter with the outside world since I am here. How will I thank them? Tell them how much it meant to receive their generous gift? Thinking about these makes me kind of emotional….

But I have got to collect myself; I have more important things to do.

I finally decided to call my family.

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The life in the diary – X

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The life in the diary – VIX

Fiction

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February 13, 2013

The other patient in the room now is moved to somewhere else. Despite her hopes, she had to undergo another surgery. No idea what happened to her after that. The room has been silent since then.

My nurse offered me to switch the beds; mine is closer to the door and the bathroom while the other one is close to the window. I said I was okay where I am. Plus, I get to see the hall from where I am. How else to spend time in a hospital room? I did not tell her that I did not want to have the space of the previous patient. Feels weird…. What happened to her? They will not tell me, the nurses I mean. Privacy issues. So I did not even bother to ask. I am keeping my bed, at least for now, and I am happy with it.

There are times I regret my decision though. Sometimes I see covered hospital beds moved silently on the hall. I kinda know what they carry. The floor I am staying in has many geriatric patients. I hear them sometime speaking with their nurses, doctors, or visitors. Young people usually, but sometime elderly visitors as well. They all have nice outfits, as if they are going to a special event. I like this in old people – the care they display. One lady had particularly captured my attention; she had gray hair neatly done, elegant shoes, and a red skirt. It was the loveliest skirt I have ever seen. The colour was just right; neither too light nor too dark. It dropped comfortably on her knees. Elegantly meshed with a thin, transparent belt. She usually came with a young man, I am assuming his son, to visit a patient. I have not seen her for a couple of day for now. I do not want to think why. Maybe she is on vacation, who knows? Not everything is bad news. It should not be.

I had some tests the other day. Ah, yes, these…. My pen does not want to bleed ink for them, but I force myself to acknowledge. Lying on cold tables, holding my breath, moving this way or that way with each direction by the technician. People are nice, but I keep thinking; I am just another patient for them; do they care about me?

This de-personalisation felt ridiculous at the beginning. Now I am grateful for it. Helps to convince myself that if nobody remembers me without it, then I should still be keeping my dignity.

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The life in the diary – VIX

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The life in the diary – VIII

Fiction

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February 9, 2013, cont’d

My mind is blank. A heavy depression hit me as my surgeon explained my medical situation. Things will change. Profoundly. I am looking for an extended stay in the hospital. Further tests. Further treatment, possibly another surgery. I will receive my doctor’s note this afternoon. I want to call my boss, but cannot find the energy to do so. An email will be easier to break the news. I have no idea how this is going to affect my job, but I am hoping there is some employee benefits that I was not aware of. Additionally, my boss is a kind type; I am sure he will understand and support me during these times.

As per the hospital and medical care costs, so far I am okay. Thank you Canada for the universal health care and thank you my job for providing me health insurance. I am not worried about the money so far; as long as I keep my job of course. I can mail my cheque for the rent. Utilities are automatically paid, so I do not need to worry about them. Have I missed anything that requires me to fix now? I cannot come up with anything; either there is not anything else or I am not able to think about them. I decide to leave it here and focus on engaging my mind on something else.

I am at the hall again. One of the nurses who cares for me smiles and says “you like to walk! That is awesome – keep doing this”. I smile back and say with my hardly audible voice “thank you nurse – you have been so kind to me”. As if I was telling goodbyes. But I am not, am I? I am neither dying nor leaving the hospital soon. Not for one moment I thought about dying. Inside I know, I truly know, I am going to be okay. It is not one of these affirmations that I keep repeating to make myself, my mind believe. No, I truly know that I am going to be okay. Eventually of course.

But, how to break the news to my family? There is a deep sorrow that hits me hard when I think about it.

I keep the tears in – no mam. No crying. There are people around. I remind myself that I like my own misery.

In an ironic way of course.

I really would like a cup of tea now.

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The life in the diary – VIII

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The life in the diary – VII

Fiction

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February 9, 2013

My surgeon finally showed up this morning. I was trying to eat the magnificent(!) hospital breakfast; pancakes with fruit. I asked for tea, but all I was offered was apple juice. Ok. Fine! Apple juice it is.

Swallowing still hurts; I am not having a great time trying to eat or drink. For some reason the nurses keep bringing me ice water. Each time I ask for just plain water. I do not even require filtered water. Just tap water. Cold amplifies the pain in my throat. Knowing how busy and lovely these nurses are (well, most of them at least) I feel horrible for returning the ice water.

My voice is not getting better. It is so hoarse, so low pitch. I am discouraged. Will it be okay? Will I be able to speak as I did before? I feel sorry for myself. Profoundly sorry… One more thing to do ask to my surgeon. Considering the current state of my voice, I am not even sure I can talk to him. Shall I write my questions down? “will my voice recover?” “what is next now?” “can I get a doctor’s notice for my work?”, “when will be the stitches taken out?”, “when can I get discharged?”

When my surgeon finally showed up, I got tense. well, what did I expect? He will tell me things that are important and certainly not as ordinary as a grocery shopping list! I straightened my back and looked at him anxiously. An experienced doctor would know the meaning of these looks. And he did. Smiled and asked me how I was. I said I was okay and continued to look at him, inquiring information. If these eyes could talk. They certainly would say more intelligible things than me. Arghh.. Anyway, enough with being childish.

When he spoke, though, I wish I had continued being childish.

He said I was not going anywhere anytime soon.

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The life in the diary – VII

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The life in the diary – VII

Fiction

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February 9, 2013

My surgeon finally showed up this morning. I was trying to eat the magnificent(!) hospital breakfast; pancakes with fruit. I asked for tea, but all I was offered was apple juice. Ok. Fine! Apple juice it is.

Swallowing still hurts; I am not having a great time trying to eat or drink. For some reason the nurses keep bringing me ice water. Each time I ask for just plain water. I do not even require filtered water. Just tap water. Cold amplifies the pain in my throat. Knowing how busy and lovely these nurses are (well, most of them at least) I feel horrible for returning the ice water.

My voice is not getting better. It is so hoarse, so low pitch. I am discouraged. Will it be okay? Will I be able to speak as I did before? I feel sorry for myself. Profoundly sorry… One more thing to do ask to my surgeon. Considering the current state of my voice, I am not even sure I can talk to him. Shall I write my questions down? “will my voice recover?” “what is next now?” “can I get a doctor’s notice for my work?”, “when will be the stitches taken out?”, “when can I get discharged?”

When my surgeon finally showed up, I got tense. well, what did I expect? He will tell me things that are important and certainly not as ordinary as a grocery shopping list! I straightened my back and looked at him anxiously. An experienced doctor would know the meaning of these looks. And he did. Smiled and asked me how I was. I said I was okay and continued to look at him, inquiring information. If these eyes could talk. They certainly would say more intelligible things than me. Arghh.. Anyway, enough with being childish.

When he spoke, though, I wish I had continued being childish.

He said I was not going anywhere anytime soon.

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The life in the diary – VII

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The life in the diary – VI

Fiction

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February 8, 2013

It is beautiful outside – the snow slowly painting the streets, top of the cars, the roofs. The red coloured brick house across from the window looks like a famous painting; the mesh of all these colours captivated me. The sight is certainly a must see. The residents on the 7th floor casually walking in the living room, preparing the table for dinner. A nice family of four. I have not noticed anything unpeaceful in their behaviour. Parents are loving and lovely; kids are cheerful and excited. Normal pace of life – nothing rushful. Wishing these family the best; watching them gave me peace. And hope. For some reason.

I feel safe here; away from the life I have had outside. The work, the house chores, people, whatever stressed me out are non-existing here. More importantly none of these itsy-bitsy worries are here with me.

I feel peaceful.

Despite my pain, despite my health condition. I have had the break of my life. Thanks to this surgery.  Irony at maximus 🙂 Alas. I should be worried about the situation but for some reason I am not. I do not know, maybe it is “normal”; maybe this is how “normal” people feel and carry on their lives like. Maybe this is how it is supposed to be. Maybe not. Maybe my mind did just shut down; does not want to feel that existential worry. Or those other possibilities. Maybe, just maybe I am not supposed to cry. Maybe more than anything else, I just need to gather myself; tap into that strength I know I have, but is just battered too badly. Maybe it is what I am feeling right now? Can’t believe in this though…. I wish I did.

Life. What have you done to me?

Or was it me? I was brave once. Young and fearless. I was on top of the world, ready to conquer the life, for once and then all. I had the focus of a hunting lioness, the sharpness of an eagle, and the unprecedented power of the grizzly bear. I could handle anything in life; there was no unpassable hurdle for me.

Then I fell down. I just did. Do not ask why. Or how. It just happened and shattered all I had; the confidence, the focus, the strength. On top of that, I blamed myself for the fall. None went up again.

How could they? By constantly blaming and beating up myself, I mentally paralyzed myself. The child in me. The one who had the zest for life. I do not know whether I became an enemy of the life or myself.

If I am the enemy of myself, then I know how furious I can be and in turn how much I have endured from my own enmity.

Should I be proud of myself?

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The life in the diary – VI

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The life in the diary – V

Fiction

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February 6, 2013 – cont’d

My incision hurts – there is no drain put in place and I am expecting some blood clotting occurring, pressing on my wind pipe, and making everything all difficult for some time again. Why do they not do it? I would rather have a scar than the discomfort. Well, maybe not; maybe drainage hurts more. So let’s leave it there.

My throat is hurting but despite what one of the nurses suggested, I did not request a painkiller. I can take the pain for now. I did not expect to feel all right right after a surgery; it is okay to have some pain. Plus, it is not even my worst concern – eating and drinking is still problematic; it is the most painful of all. But, I have been there before and I can take this.

Lying on the hospital bed is not fun; there is nothing much to do. I had brought a book to read but I am not in a mood to read about “how to get happy now”; that is the focus of the book. Happiness is something I will concern myself with after when I figure out what will happen to me.

They encourage me to walk, which I am happy to do. Boredom is interesting, makes you find ways to enjoy your moments. I like looking out of the window at the end of the hall – it is snowing outside and everywhere is white. I see people hastily walking in the evening under the street lamps – people should be happy to leave the work and getting ready to go home. I have not missed my home yet; I take this change as an opportunity to break my everyday routine. This sounds weird I know, but when all future is more or less blank, you kinda focus on the moment and try to find things that will make you feel good.

I need to feel good.

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The life in the diary – V

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The life in the diary – IV

Fiction

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February 6, 2013

I am in the hospital bed – my surgery was two days ago. I woke up 2 hours after it. The doctor did not visit me yet, but one of the residents did. She said the doctor did a good job and the surgery went well. My vital statistics are good and I am into recovery. I will stay in the hospital a couple of more days just to make sure there is no serious post-surgery concerns before I can be released. The resident says my doctor will tell me the future course of my medical care. I am waiting; it has been two days with no sign. I feel deprived but at the same time, I do not care. If it was a serious issue, I am sure my doctor would just fire the news.

The bed is not bad but the other patient in the room is noisy – I am happy for her that she has visitors; everybody needs that. But I am not happy with the long loud phone conversations. I feel like I know her entire ordeal, which is dare. She has broken her ankle and it got infected. I have seen the foot – it is all brownish, reddish, blackish colour. I felt for her. She hopes to get our of this without losing her foot. I totally understand and wish her good. I seem to be doing better than her.

I feel a lot better now prior to the surgery. I am not shaky or scared anymore. I am sure the surgery removed the bad cells and we will do our best to remove the rest too. It is good that the bulk of them is gone, the task at hand seems easier now. I know deep down that I will handle that well. It will be over sometime.

I have three different nurses come and check me, draw blood to do the tests. They are so nice; nurses should be given a higher level of respect and appreciation. For a patient there is nothing better than a smiling and affectionate look and words. On one occasion each, two of the nurses almost made me cry. The first one was a nurse who was trying to withdraw blood and was not able to find the vein or get the blood in two trials. She had to go thru my hand and she apologized for it. It was thin butterfly syringe that is really kind to my nerves. And when the nurse saw the blood filling the vial, she exclaimed with joy and said “bull’s eye!”. She is a sweetheart and I am wishing the best of everything for her. The second nurse I have seen only once so far and she asked me whether I would like her to help me with my bath and wash my back…. I wanted to cry so hard…. Affection is the kindest act ever. May she find happiness, health, and whatever she is wishing in life.

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The life in the diary – IV

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The life in the diary – III

Fiction

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January 29, 2013

I went to pre-surgery check up today. I am not a fan of these visits – they ask all bunch of questions, some of them I do not even have an answer. Do I have any allergy to medication? How would I know if I am allergic to something if I have not discovered it yet? I think they have to ask these questions, but it does not help really. I need answers myself. Sadly, nobody would give a concrete answer to what would happen to me; my doctor should know better, this visit is about the surgery. Fine. I will ask her when I am not shaky. In the mean time, they advise me to relax. Sure. Why not? And the usual advise, too; have someone to pick you up from the hospital – the general anaesthesia and the surgery can make you dizzy and weak – better someone gives you a hand. Sure. I did not tell them I did not plan to have anyone with me.

I should thank these pre-surgery visits actually – a little bit anger helps me to keep going. This appointment was better than the first time. I had felt like a victim at that time; now I seasoned. I know what to expect, what to feel.

I did not tell anyone yet about my ordeal – does my boss need to know? I am not ready to talk about it right now. The best thing I can do is to try to finish critical things as soon as possible, if I can, and then let the talking be done at the least unavoidable time. That is the best solution I have right now.

I have a surgery in 6 days – I better take care of the grocery shopping. I need to get slippers and a bed rob for the hospital stay, too. I wonder what happened to the rob I had purchased last time. Cannot remember it at home. I will walk pass the store I had bought them last time. If I am lucky, I can find new ones there. I admit despite all the emotional turbulence and the anxiety, there is something calming about shopping; I feel like I am taking care of myself.

Whether it is shopping, or I am extremely relieved to be out of the appointment, or am angry with the questions and all, I do not know what, but I feel a little bit strong walking. I keep telling myself “I will do my absolute best to support myself during these difficult times. Yes, I will. Watch me.”

Better said than done.

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The life in the diary – III

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The life in the diary – II

Fiction

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January 26, 2013 – continued

I came home. As I predicted, yes I have cried as soon as I left my doctor’s office. There were people around, I am sure they knew why. I did not care – there is a sweet freedom in not caring what others think.

Yet I was shaky; eyes wet, feet dragging each other. I felt the need to distract, pamper myself. I think I bought a cup of coffee and a muffin from the Second Cup located on the main floor of the hospital. Patients, visitors, staff, and nurses/doctors are all mixed up in the line up. It is interesting how we all wait our turn – no matter what we are, how we are. Just yesterday I was in the same line up, all tensed up and absent minded thinking about the work, the issues, and how to get over them. Yesterday, it turns out, had been a fine day.

My misery today is due the prospect of future desperation. What am I going to do? This question is brutal… Particularly when I do not know the answer. When there is no one around to ask a hand. I will have to figure out a lot of things myself… Maybe it is good. Maybe it will force me to get out of my chain of thoughts. What else can I hope for?

I walked up to home; half crying, half hurrying. Home is as usual welcoming and warm. I just threw myself on the couch, holding my face between my hands, my legs crawled to my belly.

I cried like an unborn child.

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The life in the diary – II

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The life in the diary – I

Fiction

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October 8, 2014

I do not know what to say any more – I felt like whatever I thought so far, I put in writing.
Though it is possible that if I had written more,  I could have discovered more. Said more. I just cannot continue.
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January 26, 2013

My doctor is optimistic; she says I will be fine at no time. It came back, so what?  I am not worried, I have done this before. Yet, I know as soon as I step out of the door, I will start crying. Because it feels unfair.

The first days are complete shock. Being told that you are sick and need immediate medical care is….weird or something…..Its meaning is so thick, so heavy; reality does not sink for some time.

After that, it changes you though. Priorities change for one; I do not care about work that much for example; it does not fill in my entire mind or future worries. No. Neither the fences that I was planning to paint nowadays. I do not care. Let them rot. I hope though I will not lose my job along the way; I need the insurance and the salary. That is the most critical thing I need to keep now.

Will I need someone to care for me at home? Will I be able to find someone to do so? Can I afford it? Who will shop or cook for me? Will I be able to find any friends around me?
But no; let’s not think about these yet.

Not yet.

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The life in the diary – I

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