Ree Visanian (treebones) wrote,
Ree Visanian
treebones

Sometimes, you just start feeling...differently.

I'm down to two first degree blood relatives. My next-to-last has now been diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer. Five year survival rate for her type overall: 1%.

I've got the stubs of about three different posts bubbling around my head, and the hell with my inner copy editor, I can use this journal with narrative inefficiency if I goddamn well please.

1. Those of you who know me well know that I often channel an oddly upbeat form of dark humor about the various downswings that life has had to offer me and mine.

However, today, I'm all out of cheerful wryness. I'm scared, and I'm sad, and I'm worried, and feeling guilty.

2. Nursing someone through cancer treatment, whether palliative or curative, is physically and mentally difficult, as well as time-consuming. I know that, not only as a nursing professional, but as someone who stepped up to do exactly that for my mother. It is really best done by a mutually supportive team of people.

My sister has not made choices that leave her with any such team readily available for her at this time. I did it almost solo for my mother, and that was a really, really costly choice for me. I don't have the same drive to do this for my sister that I did for my mom, either. It would cost me dearly, and I don't expect it to be anywhere near as emotionally valuable.

I don't think I have the juice to do this for my sister. Whether I have enough juice to do it for my niece, however, is another question. Leaving her unsupported to do for her mom what I did for mine does not sit well with me. However, perhaps the solution is not to Lone Ranger my way into the picture. Perhaps, maybe, are there enough local people with ties to my mother, and my niece, and my sister, to step up and build a team that I can help with, without having to do a single-handed rescue?

3. Yes, my niece and I have both made wildly different life choices than the remainder of the family, and could very easily end up dodging the lethal end of the carcinogen holocaust. But. We both had extensive second hand smoke exposure, and lived for years in the same region as a Superfund site.

My grandparents' generation was quite long-lived, but the chain-smoking generation has pretty much all died at an early age, and I'm afraid, via second hand smoke, they may take the rest of us with them.

I am, apparently, not yet emotionally prepared to feel really angry about this, apparently that anger is a bit too scary for me to take out of the box. But I think I'm going to be honest enough with myself to admit, by name, that there is quite a bit of anger there, and quite possibly, really valid reasons to feel it.

4. I finally, at the eleventh hour, find myself feeling both angry and sad about the impending death of our entire branch of the family. I mean, I know we were flawed humans many of whom made bad choices about tobacco and alcohol. But, everyone dying off? That seems harsh, or unfair, or something like that. I am not yet ready to go into a zen "it is what it is" space about this. I think there is value for me, in acknowledging that our line was a thing, and distinct from the actual people, that line is, also, dying. Good, bad, or indifferent, acknowledging that and grieving it may be a thing I need to do.
Tags: #ohgodnotcanceragain
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