So, I have been thinking about this denial thing. It seems to me that if I was truly in denial, I would not be able to write about the fact that I was in denial. Doesn't denial mean that you have yet to accept that which you are presently in denial about? So that led me to reminisce about my denial and how it felt the first time......
June 2001 - Waking up in hospital from what was to be an appendix removal to the general surgeon standing over me saying "well it wasn't your appendix, instead we found tumours and so we just sewed you up and are sending you to another hospital".....hmmmmm that's about all I remember about that guy!
So began the original journey. I do remember calling my siblings that evening in my semi-conscious state and telling them, but it all seemed so ordinary and not too important. Although, I think that may be how I remember it, because over time I have asked them to tell me exactly what I said and they seem to remember it as being very traumatic. Interesting how different people remember things differently...especially when you are full of drugs. So began my denial...I have virtually no memory of what really happened after the drugs wore off expect what people have told me. I spent alot of time later asking people to repeat the story because it is very disconcerting to have a whole period of time spent in a fog. Especially a period of time in your life that was so life changing.
One thing that I do remember thinking at the time was, 'who told my daughter what was wrong?' I would learn much later that I told her, and according to her (12 years old at the time) I did a very good job of it and was very calm. I have no memory of that at all. Way to much to deal with obviously. I do remember telling the doctors at the time that I needed to be in and out of the hospital by August 5 because I had a trip planned and I certainly wasn't about to cancel it. I was told that the trip would interfere with my chemo and I promptly told them to change the chemo. They did! Also, I informed my boss that I would be back to work in September when school re-opened so there would be no need to replace me. What is most fascinating at least to me is that everyone just accepted everything I said without a blink of an eye. Now, I did know that I had been diagnosed with cancer, and for all intents and purposes my outward demeanor seemed to say I was in total control. Looking back, I realize that I wasn't really dealing with anything. I just did what I was told to do, as long as I really wanted to, and of course being told if I didn't I would die gave me really good incentive to do it. Everyone around me kept commenting how strong I was. I laugh at that now because I realize that I wasn't strong at all I was moving in a fog and just trying to survive. It would be six months before I would even take time to investigate the statistics on my cancer. For anyone who knew me that should have been the first clue that something was wrong....I am an intellectual and must know everything about everything. At this time I wanted to know nothing! I did make decisions but they weren't about my treatment or my cancer, they were about my life. I would get up every morning and shower so as to look presentable for my visitors. My gawd, when I think of that I giggle. Who cares what a cancer patient looks like - ME! My lovely daughter laughed one day and said "no one knows what to do when they come to visit you because you are sitting up looking so nice and normal". Then after they would leave, I could barely crawl back to bed to sleep in order to be rested up for my next visitor or two. How crazy is that!
So as you can see, I am thinking perhaps I am not quite in denial this time...I mean this is the second recurrence. Or maybe there are levels of denial and I am at a lower level and so able to talk about my past denial in order to avoid my present circumstances. Either way, I think I will keep driving the bus. I don't believe I am at the point of letting anyone else steer in case they drive to close to the truth. So lets continue quietly driving to the next stop........who knows were?????