Saturday, June 30, 2018

Tomorrow is the First Day of the Final Chapter of My Life

(written 22 hours before a scheduled life-changing doctor appoint)

"is she really going to tell me how long I have left to live over the freaking phone?"

At least destiny has a high Scrabble score...

Tomorrow at 10am everything I have felt for the past few months will be confirmed. Tick tock, tick tock.

I should be outside enjoying nature, relaxing at the beach, doing something daredevil-ish, something, anything to soak in life, to absorb the feeling of what I anticipate to be the last day of freedom and frolicking without the weight of my mortality forcing me to acknowledge what my conscience has been whispering to me for quite some time.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, June 13, 2018, at 10am I will learn the results of a battery of tests I had last week to determine what cancer has in store for me next. 

You would think I would be worried, scared, reaching out to anyone I could for comfort. But, instead, I sit here alone, and in silence contemplating what I should do with the final days and weeks of my life. Only two other people by design know about my appointment tomorrow. And only I (and my doctors) know the extent to which my symptoms have returned, the same debilitating symptoms that first lead to my cancer diagnosis 18 months ago. 

I already know what I am going to be told tomorrow. It's the end of the line. Time to get my affairs in order. Update my legal documents so that it is explicitly clear to all of my doctors what life-sustaining measures I am willing, and more importantly, not willing to tolerate. Plan what I want to do for the final few months of my life.

Does it sound like I have a death wish? I honestly don't, but I have been preparing for my death for 30 years, and on some odd level it is comforting and a relief to know that the time is finally coming. Since I converted to being HIV+ in the late 80s when AIDS was a death sentence, I have been "Counting Christmases", and it's tiring. I'm exhausted, and I am at peace knowing that this cliffhanger of a life of mine will be coming to its ultimate resolution.

Fate, the God of my understanding, or my Higher Power, whichever I am comfortable with at the current moment, has intervened and revealed to me the results I will have confirmed at tomorrow morning's appointment.

First, I cannot come up with any viable reason why the symptoms of my cancer have returned other than that my cancer has returned to claim the prize it has been after all along, my life.  I swear I could feel it inside of me pissed off, pacing and plotting a new course of action as I started feeling better months ago. I know that cancer wants nothing more and nothing less than to devour its host.  I watched it devour my father and others. I know it doesn't play fair, and it doesn't like to lose. I don't have much if any, experience in my life with cancer losing. It would always be the little guy sitting on my shoulder whispering in my ear, and it will be a relief to finally shut him up, even if my death is the only way to do it. He has been whispering to me for far too many years.

Second, in the past ten days, I have had four nearly out of body experiences. Four random experiences that I cannot understand in any other way except to believe that my life has been sped up in order to squeeze any good remaining from it out before there is no time left. In the past ten days, I have met four absolute strangers in random places from coming out of the grocery store to pumping gas at 7-11. Somehow these four strangers end up telling me their story, their shortcomings, their troubles, their current predicament.  Suddenly I wonder what time it is and I reach for my phone and discover that in each instance with each random stranger more than four hours have passed in what seemed like an instant. And in those more than four hours, I, who understands very little about life, I found myself counseling these strangers about their lives.  This had to be some shit from some weird Hallie Berry and Tom Hanks movie flashback, but it was really happening to me.

Startled, I just realized my phone is ringing, and it's 9:15 am, forty-five minutes before my doctor appoint. Where the hell has the night gone? I reach for the phone, but it has already gone to voice mail. I look at the caller ID. WTF? It was my doctor calling, is she really going to tell me how long I have left to live over the freaking phone?

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