Thursday, July 2, 2009

To Whom It May Concern

If I have made radiation treatments seem terrifying to any of you I am sorry. I have been telling you about my friend's discovery that she has cancer and her reactions to the reality that she cannot treat this with "alternative modalities." She is a life long proponent and practitioner of naturopathy and homeopathy and Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture and magic water, and I have grown impatient, afraid, furious, and terrified that she would not act soon enough to avert her own premature death. It took coughing up a lot of blood to get her in the hospital. It frightened her youngest son who was the one to call the ambulance. My fear has never been that the medical professionals at Huntsman Cancer Institute would be unable to treat her cancer, but my fear was that she would fight them so hard that there would be no radiation, no chemo, no time to save her life. I did not doubt for a second that she could be saved. I feared she would refuse to be saved or wait too long. I feared she had more "faith" in the "alternative modalities" and no faith at all in western medicine. She has hated all but one of the doctor's she's seen so far. The only doctor she's liked was the doctor from India who treated her at St Marks Hospital where they took her when her lungs started hemorrhaging. I am grateful to that one doctor for earning her trust, for making her entertain the notion that western medicine might just work. It is not western medicine, nor radiation or chemotherapy that scares me. It is my friend's belief in "alternative modalities" and her revulsion toward western medicine that scares me. It is like "faith healing" at the expense of medical care, this acceptance of one approach at the expense of the more traditional that scares me. I have no faith "alternative modalities". I believe in science. I am sitting here typing because of science. I'm taking bipolar drugs, drugs to treat my heart arrhythmia, blood thinners to keep me from having to face the future that claimed every member of my mother's family--the slow crawl toward dementia and a nursing home. There is no one to take care of me. And with any luck there will be no need.

My therapist called me while I was gone this afternoon. I need help. I know that. I am on shaky ground, but I keep doing the things that keep me semi-sane. I have not skipped my meds yet. I'm not the one with cancer, but the one with cancer's reaction to her treatment is cause for worry for me. And worry isn't going away real soon. I'm venting on the blog. I've been a recluse for years and now I'm going out every day on one errand or another. It's probably good for me, but I'm hating driving in traffic and having to be nice where ever I go. However the biting my tongue is starting to take its toll on my personality. And apparently my running blog about this situation is starting to piss people off. Let me make this clear. This is me writing about the things that I care about or that interest or concern me. So in that sense, it is all about me. I'm sorry if that's offensive. I am many things, but saintly I am not! I can be a right vicious asshole as we all know. Ask Cal.

Email From An Old Friend


I know that with all the caring you already are giving in so many ways to Z the following may not be worth much to you. But I offer it anyway.

I remember the terror I felt, inside, when I first saw this huge machine that would soon be bombarding my body with killer radiation beams. It made a most unwelcome whirring sound as it rotated and zeroed in on the little red targets that had been painted on both sides of my throat.

It bothered (and frightened) me even more when I had to return years later for another bout with the
"terror rays."

I then read in some periodical that an individual should make make friends with the killer machine that can also heal. So I did. I went in to the room before a treatment and just sat on the bench that places you inside the maws of the monster. And I communicated with it.

Following treatments because easier as I let my mind wander n healing ways.

It worked for me.