The Anniversary Begins
Earlier today I was rereading an entry that I wrote in my late lamented Granny Gets A Vibrator blog exactly one year ago this week. This was back when I first knew I was very sick, but didn't yet know how sick. I'd been coughing for months and I knew there was something suspicious on the chest x-ray, but words like "neoplastic mass" and "advanced cancer" hadn't yet been tossed around. The man I called "the painter" had temporarily walked out on me in a huff because I wasn't sufficiently grateful when he tried to take charge of my situation; he was merrily going out dancing every night, and I was left struggling with my fears all alone.
In late July 2006, in an entry titled "An Apology to My Readers," I wrote this:
When I started this blog, back at the beginning of the year, I hoped I could be an inspiring and optimistic role model: Look at me! I wanted to shout from the rooftops to younger women everywhere. Don’t be afraid of aging, or the empty nest! It’s not so bad being over 50! This is a time to look forward to! I’m happy, healthy, strong, independent, full of energy, pursuing a life filled with passionate interests, laughter, learning, love, sex, and daring adventures. Life is good!
And for a few months I managed to pull it off pretty well.
But I would be inexcusably dishonest if I didn’t confess that right now, over here at Chez Le Vibrator, morale has reached an all-time low. I’m no longer feeling very healthy or strong or sexy or optimistic. In fact, I’m feeling about as weary, discouraged, depressed, and defeated as I’ve ever felt. And scared. I’m really scared about what upcoming medical tests are going to find, and scared about what it’s going to mean to be without health insurance.
I’m afraid I’ll have to give up weight lifting, and dancing, and my home, and garden and dogs and everything I’ve loved doing. I’m afraid I’ll never be able to trust being in a relationship with a man again. I’m afraid I’ve already lost the ability to take much pleasure in these things anyway. I’m scared and angry and discouraged about the state of the world and the wars and the hate and racism and brutality that never seems to stop. I’m scared about facing a bleak, dismal, and possibly brief future, old and tired and alone. And I know, it’s been a long long time since I’ve been able to be funny. If it weren’t for my magnificent sons and their wonderful partners, I wouldn’t have much good to say about anything these days.
And so, I really want to apologize to those readers who innocently wandered over to this blog expecting to read witty, sexy, feisty, optimistic, well-written vignettes about the joys of growing older, and instead have found a grumpy, rambling, self-absorbed, discouraged and embittered old woman. If I’d known last January that things were going to take such a turn, I never would have started this blog. I’m sorry about the way it’s gone south lately. And I’m sorry for being such a whiny pissy complaining sissy about my troubles, and airing my dirty laundry in public etc. I’m going to cut back on the negative stuff for a while, for my own sanity as well as yours.
Anyway, I go in for another round of x-rays tomorrow, then to meet with the doctor on Wednesday. I am really scared. Wish me luck.
God, what an awful time that was. And I really didn't even have a clue what a grim nightmare I had ahead of me. I wish I could go back in a magic time machine and find my poor scared July 2006 self and say something, do something, hell, I don't know, just wrap my arms around that self and cry with her. She was so right to be scared.
And now here it is a year later. I keep going back to these prescient worries: "I’m afraid I’ll have to give up weight lifting, and dancing, and my home, and garden and dogs and everything I’ve loved doing. I’m afraid I’ll never be able to trust being in a relationship with a man again."
And all I can say now is: well thank goodness it wasn't quite that bad! At least I managed to hang onto the dogs.
Anyway, my motto remains: Onward.
Or as Alfred Lord Tennyson said so much more eloquently in his poem Ulysses:
Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.