Saturday, January 10, 2009

Mourning Vancouver

I have been blessed with not one but two extra weeks off from chemo. The reason, unfortunately, is that my bone marrow has been rather slow to recover after the two rounds of chemo and the ten days of radiation I have already had. But luckily I am in Vancouver and have been able to change my ticket to stay longer, I would say twice now, but I still need to change my ticket for tomorrow. It has been really great to get this extra time with Julia, and it has also made it possible for me to see other friends who were out of town still last week. I've also been able to do some work and reconnect with a number of workers I had met up here and it is good to see the work I started continuing. The organizer they have found to replace me is a really wonderful woman, my age, and we've been getting along great, which lessens the pain of being replaced.

But after putting down a $5,000 deposit in order to see an oncologist here and have my blood counts checked twice a week, it seems the obstacles to my returning here may be too great to overcome. I love this city and the team of organizers here and I would be sad to give it up even if my girlfriend wasn't here. I met with my director and the organizing director for the international union this week and they told me that it is simply impossible to insure me here. They even looked into getting me fully immigrated so I would eligible for Canadian health coverage, but as it turns out Canada is either too cheap, too smart, or too cruel-hearted to allow a cancer patient to immigrate. So I am stuck as a pawn in the broken US insurance racket. And headed back to my home local for my next work assignment--whatever that may be considering the level of treatment I will continue to receive for the foreseeable future.

Don't get me wrong--I love Local 100. It is my home. I love the staff there, and the membership. And the city I have made my home for the past 5 1/2 years. My best friends are there--one of whom is pregnant!--and it is comfortable and familiar. And it will be easier to balance work and hospital there without the added stresses of cross-continental travel and medical bills. And the union will continue to allow Julia to visit frequently, and for longer than a weekend, and I will be able to visit Vancouver as well. And after this campaign, Julia will be able to join me (assuming she is willing) in New York. And someday, when we are ready to move on, we can do that, too.

But right now, I am mourning the loss of Vancouver. Everyone and everything in it. And I am raging quietly inside at this fresh attack on my life by cancer. I am so sick of doctors and disease making life altering decision for me. And then this week to have this decision come down from on-high at the union, without even allowing me the space to speak my piece or ask for what I need and want. I know they have my best interests at heart, but that almost makes it worse. It makes it so I can't lash out and knock them over, claw at them like a wild animal, like I wish I could. It means I have to go on loving them, and forgiving their shortcomings. And it leaves me here, tears brimming my eyes, sorrow pulling down at my elbows, inside my chest, my limbs limp and my body heavy.

I am mourning the loss of Vancouver. And I am not yet ready to re-embrace my city, my home, my new life. I am not yet ready to imagine my new existence.


Julie said...

So sorry to hear about Vancouver, Rose. Julia, too. It seems exceedingly unfair. Lots of love to you both.

Chuck said...

This post kinda reminds me of the line in Apollo 13 where Tom Hanks, realizing that their mission just changed from walking on the moon to getting home alive, says "We just lost the moon"

That movie, and "Fly Away Home" always make me cry way more than they should. I wish I could tell myself to only cry to really deep, meaningful movies, but somehow I'm just extra susceptible to cheesy plots, cheesy music and passable acting.

Sarah said...

Canada's bunk, dude! Brad and I miss you and are thinkin of ya! xoxoxo