Thursday, March 10, 2016

"At least we're not dead."

It was ridiculous that we were laughing. After all, none of it is funny. It's just that there was so fucking much of it that Barb and I were found ourselves in stitches.

I don't feel like detailing the litany of woes bedeviling me. If you want to read about it, you can find it here, and here, and here. I try to remain cheerful despite all that, but every now and again it washes over me that I have been in some degree of pain every day for nearly three months, with no concrete end in sight, and I feel overwhelmed and exhausted. Last night, I sat down to eat at a lovely restaurant with an expansive menu, and I was bloated and full and uncomfortable. Again. Still. I wanted to cry.

That's when Barb breezed in. She looked more distracted than usual, which I thought was work related. After all, after her biopsy last month, she shot me a text message saying the procedure had gone "just fine."

She hadn't lied exactly. The biopsy itself had gone "just fine." It's the results that took my breath away. She has cancer and will undergo a double mastectomy on April 6. My head was spinning as she explained her options for reconstructive surgery.

Complicating the situation is Barb's kid sister. They both tested positive for the BRCA gene and so her sister spun out at this news. Sis is also pressing the panic button about her teen daughter -- Barb's niece -- worrying that the high school student is a ticking breast cancer time bomb.

As we were packing up, leaving the restaurant to go to the theater, Barb commented that if one lowers the bar "way down low, we're actually lucky. At least we're not dead." As I juggled my handbag and computer bag, I countered that at least I've only got two bags -- the colostomy bag hasn't made three yet. This tickled us.

The play we saw was 42nd Street. It was nostalgic, predictable and silly and just what we needed. At one point during dinner I suggested we just blow it off. After all, it's just lighter than air. "You're going out a youngster but you've got to come back a STAR!" The score includes "Lullaby of Broadway" and "Shuffle Off to Buffalo." When I got home, I felt happier than I thought possible under the circumstances. Sometimes fluff does a body good.

But here's the thing I'm thinking the morning after. Barb has cancer. Mindy's husband has a bad ticker. My nephew is battling depression. My friends in the Keys are beyond broke. I pass my florist's shuttered door every morning. Joey's dead. I'm still sick.

I cannot believe how bad 2016 is turning out to be!