I still haven’t talked to mom much. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to speak to her with respect again. And I’m beginning to think of time as Before Cancer (B.C. in my terms) and After Diagnose (A.D., also in my own terms) now. Things have changed around here. It’s weird to think that I’m going to be leaving in three days to begin chemo.
This morning, the thought of having cancer really hit me for the first time. I woke up to the dogs’ barking and Percy wailing at my window—and I sleep on the second floor of the house. (She can climb anything, I swear. Once, I had to pull her down from the middle of a telephone pole before she chased a squirrel all the way up ((and ended up on the street—dead like the squirrel.)) She’s insane!)
But before I managed to get out of bed, the ginormous 31 finally got out of the way of all the rest of the information. All of a sudden, all the other information slapped me right across that face. And I cried for the first time since I was diagnosed.
I hate myself for it. I know it’s understandable to cry and all, but it took me . . . what? Four days? Yeah. It took me four days to actually feel something for this weird new thing going on with my body. And when it actually hit me hard enough, I cry about it. Somehow, I don’t think Brad or Eliot would cry about something like this. They don’t seem like the kind of guys that would wimp out about a life-threatening illness. Then again, maybe I don’t either.
It’s not like it hurts. I’ve found other weird bruises on my wrists the last few days and one really big one on my back. Right now, it’s about the equivalent of a puke-green color. But this morning was the first time I actually felt my heart start to hurt. Like an inner pain that leaves me feeling like I may not have a heart left.
Remember how I said that I’ve been thinking in B.C. /A.D. time now?
Well . . . Before Cancer, mom was always trying to smile and make things seem like they were all okay no matter what. (Not that it was always a good thing that she did that . . .) Jeremy would at least acknowledge that I existed and Cam wouldn’t completely avoid me. And Ellie thought I was the best in the world.
After Diagnose, though, things have gone batty. Mom can hardly take one look at me without her eyes misting over and she doesn’t try to makes things seem better than they really are. Now, everything is just the way it was meant to sound. Like “31 percent survival in the first three years.” That sounds pretty bad the way it is. But I’d much rather not have mom throwing more “honeys” and “sweeties” my way.
Jeremy doesn’t even pay me recognition anymore. It hurts to think that he doesn’t want to have anything to do with me, now that I’m the “sick brother” or something like that. Cam is almost just as bad. She keeps herself looked in her room when she’s home and tries to get out of the house as much as possible. It’s almost like she can’t bear to look at me either. The only two words I’ve heard out of her since the twenty-second were “It’s good,” when I asked her how school was going lately.
Then there’s Ellie. She hasn’t changed a bit and I thank her for that—for being the one constant in my life right now. There’s just too much uncertainty right now, I’m not sure I would be able to deal with her falling apart too. Thanks for that, Ellie.
And I still haven’t decided whether I should tell anyone else about the diagnosis yet. I don’t think I could stand another shrug like Jeremy’s or another run-away like Cam. And especially not tears like Ellie’s.
Today was hard for me. I spent most of it sitting on the animal shack’s roof with Percy. She didn’t seem to mind staying in one place nearly the whole day.
But I got to thinking, if something does happen to me, who would take care of the animals? I knew that Ellie would gladly step up to the plate, but she’s just the helper right now, and can’t do much on her own. And she can’t even get a real job yet to pay for all the supplies.
And who would volunteer at Kiddie Kollege and help the kids learn the alphabet and how to count to a hundred? My youth pastor wouldn’t have anyone to scare into thinking they’ll “drop dead” in front of the whole church, and no one to help him when he needs it. And someone has to help the other guys get the pastor’s sermon on the radio.
And Ellie wouldn’t have her brother.
Who’s going to do all that stuff?
I’m irreplaceable in more ways than one, especially in the hearts of others. I don’t think I can stand to break anyone’s.