In the midst of it #2

Change of plans. This time I’m somewhat manic with mood swings but way less lost in side effects of extreme illness. In fact the extremity of my panic is induced by previous experience making me sensitive to the absence of change I see in my pre-surgery run-through.

I won’t drag all the stuff out here. Instead I want to focus on learning from this experience. The failings of those treating me are largely a part of a broken system and analysable but not felt.

I’m afraid because I have cancer. What does that feel like? How does it affect my thoughts about almost everything? What am I hiding from? What might be lost in dying? That sounds silly but in the work-up for this procedure I’m told the risk is significant for someone “who has died before and in particular, for an extended amount of time.” Since I’m alive now, and not significantly more fucked up than the years as an alcoholic, what is death? I remember darkness, dream-like images and having it all narrated by apparently myself but it seemed like an intrusion of consciousness that couldn’t simply shut-up, even to the last moment.

Anyway, this all feels like after the fact analysis and fiddling with reality for philosophical entertainment so I’ll try being attentive to how this actually plays out. I feel a distance or separation from things that needs to be closed somehow to really experience things. Is it possible to reach that point?

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  • Carolyn Jones  On May 30, 2014 at 6:28 AM

    Perhaps it is better to remain ‘separate’ from events in these circumstances rather than emotionally connected to all that is going on Scott; in this way you can remain more objective about what is unfolding around you. In time this experience – and all the other adverse experiences you have gone through – can be documented, and some kind of meaning may evolve from this apparent state of flux. I have always found that I have learnt far more from the adverse things that have happened to me in life than the things that have gone well.

    You may find the following interesting. I tried to copy the actual symbol into this text – but failed. Chinese symbols of any kind always strike me as being incredibly beautiful and elegant even if I can’t usually understand them 🙂

    When written in Chinese the word ‘crisis’ is composed of 2 characters. One represents ‘danger’ and the other represents ‘opportunity’. I have always taken this to mean that, during or after any critical event, there is the possibility of going in one of two directions – or perhaps more accurately – we need to experience true despair prior to achieving a realisation of the opportunity being offered by the experience.


    • scottx5  On May 30, 2014 at 9:34 AM

      I’ll have to look up the Chinese character for crisis. It might be in my copy of the I Ching or definitely on the net. My Mother was very skilled at Chinese brush work and probably knew it, or the Scottish adaptation anyway:-).

      There was a period of time before when I couldn’t detach from world that emerged in my head. And it may not be wise to honor this state as valid experience in case I can’t come back from it. Being in the dream world is one thing, being trapped there is another. I was so sick last time it seems the brain that took over was a kind of hell-dog of the subconscious that knew the territory and how to create a weird sense from the distortions and bits of awareness–me at my near worst seems plausible too. I wonder, that mind / self / guide was very clear about what was going on in its realm. Reasons for things were “explained” and made sense, as if the world had shifted to be seen by another understanding.

      I think you are right Carrie to not indulge in too much of the alternate experience. It diminishes what I can learn that is “real world” orientated, plus it’s already clear by my previous experience being labeled “psychosis” that it isn’t useful to be known as the person who went crazy. On the other hand, what is the “real” experience? When do I know when I’ve moved from the apparently operative-in-the-world version of myself to the other world that seems just as clear? Is it okay to collect versions of the world as long as you only live in one at a time?

      Seriously, this coming operation is fairly simple. The “problem” is the medical system has lost my trust through their own lax behaviors. I know for a fact I’d be dead if I relied on them so in my mind all their professional posturing and “standards” are suspect. And this includes their credibility and right to respect.

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