The rants of a sad and self righteous man…
These verbal rants have been an ongoing process within me for quite a while. For weeks the encouraging comments of friends did nothing but anger me and awaken me to the ignorance of others regarding my condition – whether this ignorance was of my own architecture (borne in my own lack of detail) or not, worried me greatly. Had I put on too happy a face and tone? Do my own peers not understand the grave situation in which I exist? Writing everything out was a huge relief to me and through it I learned to LET GO of the expectations I hold above others and myself. The cancer experience is very personal and very emotional, even when viewed from afar. To feel uncomfortable, even angry at times, is natural, is OK.
Maybe it’s my fault – maybe I haven’t been as honest or descriptive enough when discussing my fight with cancer… I don’t want to bitch and moan about the silliest shit like so many other people do (and believe me they do) I just want people to know the truth, how difficult and unrelenting it’s all been. I also want people to be honest with me because I’ve always been so painfully honest with them.
A friend of mine, always full of encouragement and positive remarks recently told me to “keep them ice-tools sharp, brother! you may need them this season yet.” Seriously? are you a fucking park ranger now? Would you have the nerve to tell some quadriplegic to “keep up the rehab mate, you’ll be running circles around us all here shortly!? I know the comment was meant to be encouraging, it was told with kindness, but it was bullshit. I’m sick of sugarcoated bullshit. You obviously don’t know anything about me or what I’ve gone through, what I’m going through…
I get the same hollow shit from family. They’re just bubbling over with optimism, inspirational quotes, and life experiences that just don’t compete with the seriousness and downright horror of mine. All the sweet talk and attempts at civility fall flat. The religious bullshit offends me the most… The very idea of some continuation of existence scares me shitless. I imagine death to be nothing, sleep without dreams, perpetual rest in blackness, and that’s the way I want it - so stow your talk of salvation, brotherhood, and love. I want none of it.
There are naturally optimistic and (seemingly) happy people. They’re a rare breed and annoying as hell - my father happens to be one of them. Growing up I remember him saying things like “life ain’t that bad”, “life’s easy if you let it be”, etc… The thing is though, he would became visibly distraught when confronted with discussion of death, disease, or discomfort. He’s not a religious man, but he was fortunate all of his life. Not much of an abstract thinker and comfortably imprisoned by boredom and routine, he never aspired to understand much or to experience much. He worked, he loved his wife, and he loved his son. The first time I saw him cry was a few years back when our much loved family dog Molly had to be put down. The second time came a year or so later when I was diagnosed with AML Leukemia… Oh God the sobbing, my father who was always happy, who always wore a smile, who gave everything and had nothing, who loved his son and his wife and his dogs and that’s about it…. And then he’s sobbing again (the third time ever!) standing above me in the ICU after they brought me back – why the fuck did they bring me back? Dad? Why the fuck did they have to bring me back?
There’s this kid I know from way back in high-school and even before then, a very immature kid. I knew and liked his father and so for years remained silent about this little chickenshit and his self demeaning desire or need for attention. Hey dumbfuck, you’re twenty three, you’re healthy, you supposedly love to climb (I don’t see it though, I just see you loving the social scene at the gym or crag, where you sit around and do nothing cept smoke ciggies and talk shit in your XXL puffy jacket.) You have a family that (somehow) tolerates you, a job, a clean bill of health, and yet you still write these goddamn embarrassing dispatches on Facebook. “Starting tomorrow I’m getting my life together and beginning to work hard to reach the goals I have set for myself… I’m even going to eat better and cut back on the ciggies.” Dude, where the fuck do you get the nerve to post this bullshit to your 15,000 Facebook “friends”? No wonder you feel so empty inside. Oh, and before I forget – harden the fuck up. Nobody gives a shit about the Junior High melodrama floating around in that head of yours. Open up your eyes and take a big look around you – see all the shit you have going for you? Now stop being such a pussy and get on with your life.
Another scene comes to mind – me talking to a friend who launches into a tirade against western medicine, assumes my doctors have advised me against exercise (actually, it probably hasn’t crossed their minds, considering that I’m slowly dying…) and then goes on to compare me to a guy in his weight-lifting class with a pulled back muscle. I hate to break it to you fella, but I’m literally wasting away here at twenty four. I’m puking green vile every goddamned day, emaciated, pissing blood, and guess what? I didn’t get cancer because I ate corn and didn’t vehemently follow the Paleo Diet – SHOCKER!!! - I was raised in a healthy environment, ate healthy food, and have two wonderfully old and healthy parents in a wonderfully old and cancer-free family… All these folks training to climb and never actually climbing… Derek Hersey would be fucking spewing.
I’m sick of everyone bitching about what a warm winter it’s been (boohoo, not enough snow for you to slide down a hill on your fancy ass fat skis and baggy bro bra clothing? Nobody gives a fuck about your blog (or mine) – nobody gives a fuck about your ruptured A2 pulley (fuck you and your A2 pulley), nobody gives a fuck about how many squats you do, nobody cares about what company has offered you a spot on their “team”, nobody cares what color your fucking pants are, nobody cares that you have a prosthetic leg, or arm, nobody cares that you live in Boulder, nobody cares that you’re too big of a pussy to eat lentils or wrap your burrito in a fucking tortilla, nobody cares about your AA sponsored first lesbian bi-racial capsule style ascent of…
These past few months have been hard on me. I’ve been struggling to put my thoughts into words. My own friends and family do not comprehend the obstacle before me, the pain I endure, the unlikeliness of my survival. It’s made me angry at times. The brevity of my situation goes beyond that of my peers. It’s that simple. The people in my life can not relate to the turmoil and intensity of facing a debilitating and likely terminal illness. So again, I will not be climbing anytime soon – in my last ditch efforts to fight this disease I’ve sacrificed what strength and ability I had and every day is another day bound to a chair or a couch or a hospital bed. My stomach churns acid and I vomit every morning, my bones throb, my mind is constantly clouded over by an insanely large dose of narcotics and chemotherapy drugs… my only chance at life still another stem-cell transplant away, another year at least of suffering before me. No, I will not be climbing anytime soon – I wont’ be doing anything other than surviving in the most primitive form imaginable, bowel movement to bowel movement. Because my life with cancer is so goddamned shitty I’ve decided on an END date for myself. If I’m not in remission and recovering by ------- I am going to withdraw from the world of illness once and for all, on my terms. It’s a funny thing to wake up everyday craving your own death, but that’s what pain will do to you over time… and how could I expect my friends or my family to relate to that? How could I not become angry when I hear people bitch and moan about their torn A2 pulleys or sprained ankles? Forgive me for being blunt, my patience and enthusiasm has been regularly tested over the course of this trial. My life is more difficult and unfortunate than yours - and I KNOW that’s an extremely self-righteous thing to say, but it’s likely true.