Thursday, December 7, 2017

Dream In The Dark For the Most Part

'We dream of a brand new start
But we dream in the dark for the most part
Dark as a tomb where it happens'

There are things that happen regularly in life and yet we never quite accept them as normal. Perhaps highest on the list for most people we know is death. In the circles that have come into my life that far too often comes prefaced with a cancer diagnosis. That of course comes with biopsies and blood works. Today was one of those normal abnormal mornings for me. I just left the MRI but I changed some of the chords on the way I usually sing the song. The most atypical bit is I had someone else there, good support back up if you will as I took Elaine with me. This wasn't someone having to give me a ride because I wasn't allowed to drive and waiting around, this wasn't someone filming for a media piece, this wasn't someone showing up thinking that my pushing them away wasn't sincere. This was my fiancee invited, awkwardly welcome at a theoretically minimally invasive procedure.

A few days before her, Kiana and I went to climb Enchanted Rock, a park that I'd never made it to. I had once attempted to go with two cancer survivors but it was closed. Now I was going with family and we discussed going on a guided tour but ended up climbing it ourselves in almost drizzly weather. We got to the top and then started to descend in a way that wasn't exactly on my agenda. We went down a cave which got smaller than opened, than another one which got even smaller and seemed to open up less. I'm claustrophobic and there were sections where my breathing was more disturbed than when I'm doing a track workout. I reminded myself, pretending that it was directed at Kiana that you don't let fears get in the way of adventure. There were moments of relief where there was a clear out somewhere in the way so at least I knew I could climb out far more efficiently than you got in and we kept going for over an hour, squeezing until we got to a place where Elaine and I literally no longer physically fit. Kiana was still able to go a little further but came back. Her fearlessness somehow deeply encourages and scares me so often. 

A hike down where Elaine would slip and almost go head first except for getting lodged by a rock and a climb where Kiana also had a bit of a panic getting down the side of the mountain made to where everyone had fair scares, scrapes and bruised or bloody body parts. How can you not love people like that who did all that and walked on smiling? 

Getting ready for the Decker Challenge that we put on and getting ready for an MRI on the same week makes for interesting head space so that was a good way to start the week. Self awareness is not a quality I lack so I know that somehow both of those stressors help me focus on my strengths and also make my bad habits a little worse. My track workout was one of the best I've had in a while with me singing some fun songs in the middle of 800's. My chocolate consumption, not my best habit but not one I'll give up, was higher than usual. And a questionable approach at best, engaging in online political debate on people who I have higher expectations of than cheap shots was also one I engaged disproportionately too much of the last few days. 

It's the coldest rainiest weather we've had here in a while but if there's one entirely healthy coping mechanisms is running so I went and did it in the rain. Kiana did it too and made a drawing of her run in the weather declaring that the smile on it was what we call artistic license. Appears she's picked up her dad's humor coping mechanism. But as I got ready to go to bed on a cold rainy wet night I thought of lyrics from the song the previous entry was plagiarized from and that are quoted about, we dream in the dark for the most part.

The dark hadn't stopped us from running or climbing or dreaming. So rather than entirely sit and think about the next morning, we sat and picked out some potential songs for the wedding. The truth is it's our hope that it won't be much like a wedding in many ways but just a party that happens to include one. But the wedding coordinator had sent a well timed email about be thinking about songs that you want to dance to or enter to etc so I started letting my mind go there instead of entirely about the dye that would go into it in the morning. (By the way, what songs are fun to dance to at a wedding in your book? I'm open to suggestions). Invariably some sad or worrisome songs got played to acknowledge all emotions but I think the hopeful ones won. 

Elaine came with me to this morning's MRI. She got to see the amazing medical clothes I get to wear which encouraged me ask the tech a wink-n-the-eye question about which one of us had the better outfit and can you believe the tech said her? I guess I gotta get used to that before the wedding. It was a new tech doing the bloodwork who asked me which arm; I hadn't thought about it in so long because the other one always did my right arm and I said I don't care. She did my left arm... which was a mistake because I look away but the stuff they're going to use is all next to my right arm so looking away still reminded me of those needles I dread. I closed my eyes and went to the dark. 

During the MRI itself Elaine was in the room. For a guy whose claustrophobic isn't it great being stuck in a tube where they tie you down but hey they put a little mirror so you can look out. I actually generally don't because it's just a window to the tech that also sort of reflects back to you. But this time, Elaine was in the line of vision and reflection and I couldn't help but think of that I was seeing her seeing me in a blanket in a machine. The tech had said that it was good that she could see something that was going to be part of my life. I thought of that as I sat in there. I thought of wedding dancing songs. I started working on my annual 8 year's resolutions (one of the 3 I'm already absolutely committed to is no longer engaging in any online political conversations). On those conversations people don't often make progress because they aren't really listening and therefore can't fully understand. I don't expect Elaine or Kiana or someone who hasn't gone through cancer to have all of the same association just as there are some things I won't fully understand parts of being female but we do I think fully listen and thus have a very meaningful connection.

The tests are done... now it's the long wait till the results tomorrow. Still going with the superstitious approach that 8 won't betray me and getting the results tomorrow are all but guaranteed by just having it on that day. But then again my biopsy started back on November 8, 2010. Still, for the first time ever, the techs who did know me were introduced to Elaine for the first time. I joked with them that as much as I like them, I don't miss them at all. But when it was done, they said something they've never said before. Usually they say good luck or good to see you or something innocuous but they said oh it'll be a good scan and we probably won't see you again for six months. I don't do hubris but I live by hope which they added a little more to in my soul even while the dye that they use to create contrast is still rolling around in my stomach. Still, I renewed my license this week and see how little people say I've changed in almost a dozen years between the pictures makes me wish that the tumor follows the example of my face, could use a lot of improvement, has some wrinkles but doesn't change very drastically for at least a couple of decades. 

It's still cold and it's still rainy and I'll repeat my oft said joke that I'd say the suspense is killing me but if something's killing me it's probably not the suspense. But no matter how it goes, I promise myself, her, and anyone whose listening that I'm absolutely committed to taking those dreams from the dark and putting them in the light for longer than tomorrow. At most MRI's if I was thinking that way I'd honestly be saying dream with me but at this one I'm saying dream with us. And if things get a little darker with tomorrow's results, we will take it like Van Gogh's starry night and add some dark dreamy chocolate.  

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