Thursday, June 28, 2007

Freaking out

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, but upon reflecting upon the whole drama that is cancer, it's occurred to me more than once that not one person freaked out in front of me. The sad eyes, sure. Maybe the extra squeeze in the hug. Or a little vocal wavering on the phone. But outside of the, "okay, I have cancer, I'll be fine," I never had to deal with someone else's emotions really. Not one person cried in front of me. No one got hysterical. No one really made it about them.

At least not in front of my face.

My mother teared up when I came out of surgery. I was too drugged up under the wonders of anesthesia to notice. Alan told me he'd cry while he watched me sleep. (A collective sigh of cuteness.) I'm sure friends got off the phone with me and proceeded to call their mommies. A friend recently told me there were a lot of freak outs on her part.

Of course there were. Your friend has cancer. Fuck. I flipped out a little when my friend Dave found out he had cancer. "What does that mean?" "Why the hell did it have to happen to such a nice kid?" I didn't really go there - but I'm sure the thought of my possible mortality struck somebody's mind. People do die of cancer, after all.

This same person now regularly points out that I had cancer, and shit- that was major stuff. It's like it's just hitting her now. The lifetime of tests and scares and menopause and can I eat soy? (The answer is no, btw. Soy is an estrogen. Estrogen is bad.) It's not unlike my own realization. See, when you're doing it, after the initial "Are you fucking kidding me?" you just put your head down and do it. What else can you do? It's only when you have a chance to breathe that the enormity of the situation strikes you.

I have to give my friends credit. Thank you for not flipping out. One drama at a time. Thank you for calling and emailing and sending me presents. Thank you for never asking, "Are you going to die?" Thank you for never putting me in the position to have to make you feel better. At least not a lot. Even though I'm getting further out, thank you for realizing cancer is still very much a part of my life. Thanks for still reading.

In an effort to be "interactive," I will now cast an informal poll. Those of you who know me personally, did you freak out at any point? Did it involve tears? Drama? Booze? What did you do? Scream, call a friend, call your mom? Enquiring minds want to know. Post comments here.

Thank you for bucking up and being good little campers. Now go eat some cake.


Anonymous said...

Well, I like booze regardless of good or bad news. I will say that my response was that I went into major denial (i.e. acting like nothing had changed). I just assumed that since you're Courtney that you'd win the battle and that was that (of course, I also went and looked at awful pictures of us from Dance Marathon). I know, stupid to assume it was that easy. I've really appreciated you blog and re-reading old entries so I could get a better understanding of what you've been through and so I wouldn't be in denial anymore. Love, AJ

Anonymous said...

It always involves booze...

Anonymous said...

Being a Catholic teacher, I said a Hail Mary (as I was driving through a cornfield in central Illinois after getting the news). If I weren't pregnant at the time, it would have definitely involved booze. I was a little flipped out but knew that you'd be OK. For those of you who don't know Courtney, she's like a cat; she always lands on her feet. My dear, you have such an amazing spirit and support network, I knew in my heart of hearts that everything would be OK.

David J. Hahn said...

When you told me I was pretty shocked. I'd just gone through it and I thought it was all over, then you got it and I felt like it was happening all over again. And I thought for sure I'd given it to you (not really).

But I didn't really know cancer besides the cancer that I had, and I'd beaten that, so I figured it be the same for you. I didn't realize how much more shit you'd have to go through in comparison.

I got pretty depressed about it for a while. I can't explain why, it just happened. Maybe because it felt for a little while that cancer was going after my friends now too, and it was trying to take everything. It made me sad to see you go through all the baby-maker problems that came with the cancer. But it wasn't really until afterwards, now that you've been talking about Candy and Ruby, that I really realized what a nasty bug you've been beating.

On the other hand, you've been kicking ass and taking names since you got it, as I knew you would since you were never one to take that kind of crap sitting down, so it's sometimes hard to worry about you that much when you got so much tenacity.