Thursday, June 3, 2010

Reality Check

June 1, 2010 {Dread}

I’m sitting in our vacation rental in San Francisco for the last night of this trip.  It’s a BEAUTIFUL big flat in North Beach with comfy beds, walking distance from everything we care to do.  It’s also a block away from a cable car stop which will take us to anything else we’d care to experience in the City.  It’s been an amazing trip with lots of laughter, shopping, eating, buses, cable cars, and walking, walking, walking.  We’ve been able to see or experience nearly everything that we came for.  I am absolutely dreading going home.  I’ve never experienced this much dread heading home from vacation.  Several times I’ve not been ready but this is literal dread.  I’ve had 8 days to escape my reality and I don’t want to go back.

June 2, 2010 {Re-entry...the drive home}

Re-entry, for most, after vacation is challenging. For me though, I’m usually quite ready to go home and shower in my own shower, sleep in my own bed, and make tea in my own tea kettle.  This is the first time I can remember re-entry being so emotionally devastating. 

As we left our flat today, I cried. As we drove around San Francisco spying out things we missed, I cried. I also experienced intense sadness because I felt I’d never return.  Real or imagined, this is how I felt. Reed and I experienced many, many life changing moments while living in the city two decades ago.  One of which was becoming a mom.  It will always and forever hold a special place in my heart.  This, however, was not the cause of my sadness.

I’ve encountered many who move to San Francisco to hide. Hide from people in their lives who don’t approve of their artistic flair, drug use, homosexual life style, or illegal alien status.  San Francisco is called a “sanctuary city” for reasons that I mostly disagree with but it’s VERY much become a sanctuary city for me. I go there to breathe again.  But this time, I didn’t want to leave...ever. I wanted to stay and hide and breathe.  To permanently escape the reminders of my reality.

The thought of going back home is completely sickening to me.  I am so very tired of my cancer reality. I have passed being “really” angry at God.  And yet, I need Him desperately.  Once again I am going through feelings of being cheated, deceived, ignored, and sometimes, spat upon.  I know that I have an amazing support system of people that love me and a God that cherishes me but at the moment, I don’t want to experience any more of my stinkin’ reality ever again in my whole entire life!!  I don’t care how much stronger I become in the process.  I’m sick of the process and I’m fairly positive I’m strong enough.

Anyway, most women I know deal with aging issues.  Wrinkles, loose skin that once was tight, graying hair, weight gain...blah, blah, blah.  We all hate it. We all wish it wouldn’t happen to us. I am, however, dealing with extra aging issues that are quite different and so very lonely.  The aging process in my body is being sped up with the continuous toxins that are being pumped into me. There are things going on that shouldn’t be happening for another ten years...literally.  Because of this, I despise having my picture taken.  All I see is an aging, sick, tired woman.  No matter how “good” I think I look when I leave the mirror, the pictures ALWAYS show this other person.  And I keep wondering who she is.  In my head I continually see how I looked a couple of years ago right before all the chemo started and it just doesn’t match up with today.  Not even close.  Parts of me are literally unrecognizable.  If I sound like I’m whining, I am.  I know that we all have our issues and nobody wants to age and I know that some of what I’m dealing with is the natural aging process and I know that I “should just be thankful I’m still alive for my family” but on top of all the aging crud (and my list would be insanely long) I’ve got the CONSTANT pain reminder, gimp hip, and deformed body part to keep me from ever being able to escape my reality.  Yes, oh yes, I’m in full whiner mode now.

This is one of the why’s of not wanting to leave San Francisco.  I have no doctors in San Francisco, no oncologist, no neurosurgeon, no wound care specialist, no nurses, no lab techs, no visible reminders other than me.  I’m not familiar with the medical facilities in four different hospital locations and two counties and I don’t know what the scanning rooms look like.  I can’t find my way to the hospital blindfolded even though I do know how to get there and that the hills leading there are VERY steep.  San Francisco has always been a place where the “real” me is cemented.  Artistically, spiritually, morally, and yes, politically.  Like I said earlier...I can breathe there differently than anywhere else.  And, I can hide.

At home, I am also surrounded by reminders in the form of people I love.  Everyone knows.  There is no anonymity. Even managers at Wahoo’s know. I also know that I wouldn’t have survived as well, up to this point, without this love and support.  And I’m finding that the closer we actually get to home (we’re about 1 hour away by car) the less I feel like hiding.

And now that I’ve been home for 1/2 an hour...I want to go back to San Francisco.


  1. Thanks for sharing! So glad you could go, so sad you had to leave:(

  2. As weird as it is, I love this post. So raw and real and refreshing for me. Thanks for being transparent with us. So glad you had a good trip. I pray you get to return someday very soon:) Love you!

  3. When you look in the mirror, "I" picture (although we have never met) a true warrior that is still standing strong and moving forward. Your strength amazes me and it's o.k. to have those 'whining' moments - we all do!! :) Hang in there sweetie...
    "A little faith will bring your soul to heaven, but a lot of faith will bring heaven to your soul." ~Author Unknown

  4. All I can say is that you are truly one of the most beautiful women I have ever had the privilege of knowing. These bodies of ours simply rot and decay, whether by chemo, age,abuse... whatever. No one is immune. But you have a beauty that goes well beyond the outward appearance. I see true beauty radiating from you in the way you treat people, and in the way you brave the difficulties of this current life. Hang in there, sweet friend!