“My head hurts, I want to die, I’m not capable of handling this world, this life. I am shit and I’m so, so tired. I just want to sink into a hole and be left alone forever, sleep forever. End. They keep saying ‘you don’t want to die, you only want the pain to end’ but I truly want to die, to stop. I can’t remember a world without this pain, living is pain, breathing is pain, trying to not be this way is the hardest pain. If the pain stops I stop, not just the other way around, I am the pain.
This is all that I know. This life, this feeling.
All those “good things”, all those “reasons to live”, they aren’t mine, they don’t belong to me, they are hidden behind impenetrable frosted glass; I can’t reach them, I can’t feel them or see them, I barely know that they are there at all.
You can’t hold onto a world you don’t exist in, or a memory you don’t have. You can’t cling to a hope when there was never a dream or a plan.
All I have apart from this very feeling is a vague and incomplete storyline, and it’s not even accurate. I am only here because I haven’t been able to prevent myself from returning, I hadn’t been able to control it. I can’t keep living like this, as me. It’s no longer possible. I need to go away, and never come back.”
I found this in an old journal entry, written around two months before our stage 4 cancer diagnosis.
People have made comments about how well I’m handling this cancer lark. They think I’m brave, they think I’m resilient, they think I’m inspirational. All because I’m cracking jokes about it, discussing it emotionlessly and generally not falling in a heap.
In reality, I think I’m just confused.
I wonder how people would react if they knew how much I’d wanted a get out of life free card? It would be extremely hypocritical of me to start crying and proclaiming my desire to live now when I’ve literally been begging to die since I was around eight years old.
An unforeseen death sentence at no fault of our own? The cancer takes the rap and we are just another helpless victim, losing a battle? I should be singing and dancing, I got my greatest wish.
But… And there’s always a but…
When the choice is taken from you, particularly when it’s just as you’ve started to understand your selves better, started to find a sense of your own self and realised that some things that happened to you as a little kid were pretty shitty really and weren’t necessarily the result of just being born a faulty human being, well it kinda hurts.
Once when I complained about my hypocrisy of choosing to have the chemotherapy and feeling guilty for now actually quite liking the idea of living a bit longer, M commented “don’t people have the right to grow from their experiences? The right to change their minds?”
I don’t recall how I responded to her. Thinking on it now, on one hand my answer is a resounding “Yes!” of course people do! Only… At the same time, I’m not “people”. I’m me, and in a narcissistic self important way I feel that I should be held to different standards.
I feel like I have absolutely no right whatsoever to “fight” this cancer. As grateful as I am for Australia’s Medicare system, I hold an incredible amount of guilt at how many tax payer dollars have been wasted on trying to keep me alive when frankly, I don’t think I deserve it. But when I think of the other parts of ‘me’, the hurt kids and angsty teens, I want them to have a chance to heal.
Just before I started chemo my oncologist said he wanted me to do immunotherapy instead. I was told it would give us twice the chance at longer term recovery but it was $60,000 out of pocket. I politely declined as we had roughly $60 in the back account and it wasn’t an option.
A bunch of our friends offered to start us up a Go Fund Me but I couldn’t bring myself to let them. I felt it wouldn’t be fair for people to contribute money to saving a life I didn’t deserve to have, at least not without knowing that I had actively attempted suicide in the past and wished for death most of my life and I just wasn’t ready to start divulging that information.
So I had the chemo and tried to be grateful for it. The PET scan was clear and everyone around me celebrated while I felt like I’d cheated the system.
Now we’re in that awkward after chemo but before next scans phase. Every little ache or pain I get I immediately wonder if it’s the cancer coming back for round 2 and I get scared.
I get scared because now I want to live long enough to find the lessons in it all, heal my hurting alters, share some hope, give something back to the world. I want to inspire the people who should have the chance to learn and grow from their experiences, because to come this far and drop dead without helping others feels like a wasted opportunity.
So I know I don’t deserve to survive this, not after all my bitching about being alive. But just quietly, I hope we do.