This is the sign on my door. I’m reverse quarantined. My nice, marginally bossy nurse told me off sternly for leaving my room to seek out ibuprofen. She also won’t let me eat any fruit or veg with the peel on. I asked her to peel my blueberries to which she laughed mightily. So it’s bananas and tinned fruit for today. I’m looking forward to the tinned fruit, a little blast from an unhealthy childhood. I was too quick with my praise for the vegan menu here yesterday. It seemed no matter what I ordered I got lentil stew. The food lady blames the ‘main kitchen’ where they are all “lazy”.
I should get my bloods taken any minute and know by lunch if I’m in again tonight. I was really into staying last night but I’m getting a bit lonely in my hygienic bubble. I had my immune system booster yesterday and am feeling the dreaded bone ache today so I think it’s doing its magic.
The wind is blowing outside and the sea is peppered with white waves. I’ve been pondering death. Being in isolation has been like being on a mini retreat. My nurse is German and says half the people here are elderly and death is handled badly in this setting. She told me the story of a young Syrian lad who died here recently and his family couldn’t be with him. But he had joined a Coptic church and people came to see him every day. I guess the loss of religion, albeit liberating on lots of levels, means a vacuum exists for dealing with these big life and death events.
I’ve been thinking that acceptance of death might be a good process for me to go through. I’m not saying I’m giving up on positive thinking. I actually think it might be an extension of that. To fully accept the thing we can’t change and be free of the anxiety related to it. Not that I intend to die soon. But we all die. So it could be a good investment for my healing now as well as for the inevitable future event.
I posted on the breast cancer forum the article Kat mentioned in a comment on Bursting the Bubble about the use of psychedelics in existential crisis about death. There was a mix of reactions from the women there. One was firmly on the rage against the dying of the light approach to her own death. Another was excited about finding a way to accept death and go with grace. Both have been diagnosed with secondary cancer so death is closer for them. I respected both their positions but I was much more drawn to the second view.
Even though it’s still an abstraction for me, I am wanting to face it. I will have to live with great cancer for the rest of my life. Even if it never comes back there will be monthly breast checks, yearly scans, as well as the constant paranoia about it coming back. A good portion of the anxiety about these things will be connected to fear of dying. I described it as an abyss before. I would like that to change. I don’t want to live with that level of terror at the edge of my vision. A shadow following me around. I believe it would be a relief to let it go leaving me more room for all the good lifey stuff. So anybody got some LSD?