Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sequels Always Suck

It's no different with cancer. The second time around is just not the same. The first time around it was just something to get through, something to get past. All the chemo, the radiation, the mouse cells that upped my pain threshold about a thousand-fold. They were all just hurtles to jump, and at the end of the obstacle course was a land without cancer.

The first time around, you can believe that.

The first time around you don't know that it's forever. And no matter how many clues there are on the way--the endless scans, the treatments that go on so much longer than the disease appears to be hanging around. But you still believe that it's gone, and it's not coming back.

But the second time around...The second time around is different. Now you know: it's back, and it's probably not going anywhere. I mean, I believe that I will get back to clean scans. I think I am probably there now. But I will never be without cancer. I may have known that before, but now I feel it to be true. And feeling it is so much heavier.

What I don't know is how to live with it. How do I make a life where I am dealing with this disease all the time? How do I live and work and go through treatment at the same time? I feel like everyone expects me to disappear for a while and come back fixed. Maybe that's my imagination, maybe that's what I want to believe is possible, but it's not going to happen. I am going to have to figure out how to live the life I want to live while getting treatment and finding new ways to keep my disease in check. And that's maybe the hardest, maybe the scariest thing I've had to deal with yet.


eternalsunshine said...

I feel you, albeit in a less critical way. Every time I come out of a bad colitis flare, there is a sense of "yay! I did it!" but it's bittersweet because clinically, I'm still sick. And it will happen again, maybe a week later, maybe a year later. I remember having that realization, "Oh my god, there's no such thing as getting better. I will never get better." And even now when I'm doing okay and my colon is healthy-ish, it's permanently I have hit the pinnacle of "getting better," and it's still far from "normal" or "healthy." It's like I have had to adjust what "normal" means so that I don't think at the end of the day, "wow, normal people don't go through this."

The idea of remission, however good it may seem, is so bittersweet as well. It's a fragile temporary state, so how to keep going as if it weren't?

Chuck said...

I'd have to say, the only sequel I can think of that didn't suck was Empire Strikes Back. Karate Kid 2 sucked, despite the hand-drum thing, which was kinda cool. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was terrible. Back to the Future 2 was even worse. Rocky 2 was pretty bad too, though not as bad as the other sequels.

And then there are the truly terribly bad 80s sequels like Beverly Hills Cop II(the first one was kinda entertaining, though a bit dated) and Police Academy II.

More recently some sequels have been decent. The Dark Knight was pretty sweet, as was Spiderman 2. But the Matrix sequels were disappointing. I'd have to say that Mission Impossible 3 is probably the best of the bunch, so that one's kinda the exception, but then it had Philip Seymour Hoffman which is practically cheating. Also it's hard to lump things that were always meant to be in three parts together with "sequels" like Lord of the Rings. But even there I still think that the first one was the best.

Jurassic Park's sequels were terrible. The original Batman (Michael Keaton) sequels were each worse than the last, usually precipitously so.

Well... those are all the ones I can think of for now.

I hope you're having an "decent-given-the circumstances" day, and that this movie sequel rant isn't interpreted as diminishing the suckiness that you're experiencing!

much love, chuck

Gene said...

Hang in there, Rose. I know it's really tough, and discouraging, but there is always hope for better treatments in the future. Carmen, Clare and I will see you over Thanksgiving.

xine said...

hug hug hug hug hug