Tomorrow I will know about the ‘fairy lights’ as my mate Sarah put it.
Back in Feb I was living and working in Thailand, in smoggy Chiang Mai, and was riding a motorbike daily into work. I had rented it from Wan, my Grab driver, and she and I were exchanging drivers late one Saturday night. I was buggered and grumpy because she had taken the bike from the car park where I had left it some 10 hours previously, but not told me. So she had to come and pick me up, drive me back to her place, swap riders and I would be on my way.
We both made mistakes.
I assumed, as I swung over the front to get on, that though the engine was still running, she was holding the handbrake. She assumed I wouldn’t hold the other front handle and throttle to balance. F=MA. Force equals mass by acceleration. It was shocking how fast and hard I got flicked by the fully throttled bike onto the gravel road and pulled along a bit. I remember my head hitting the road and feeling my neck kind of pop sideways. I also remember the huge bang my ribs took. I lay there for a minute, hearing the bike revving like mad then cutting out as Wan got to it and turned it off, carefully considering the various painful bits I was feeling. My neck was the biggest worry and I suddenly saw myself in a neck brace or like some Stephen Hawking tapping words out with a proboscis attached to my head for the keyboard. I sat up slowly and carefully. Wan was running towards me calling out’ “Are you alright?” I didn’t really know but I seemed in one piece. We picked up the bike and after checking on her bruised leg I drove home and did what I didn’t oughta. I knew I was feeling a bit shocked and a bit sore but I took a Valium and some Panadol and went to bed.
Next day it was straight to Chiang Mai Ram for me. Yep. Concussion and 3 fractured ribs. Well done miss. However the doctor did mention that I also seemed to have some kind of lesion in my lung or around the 7th rib so did I want a CT Scan.
“I don’t know. Do I need it?”
The Thai doctor smiled. “Up to you. You want, you have!”
“Yes but you are the professional, I am just the body. Do I need one?”
“Up to you.”
I told him I had a history of breast cancer.
“OK. We do closer x-ray.”
A few days later, already having in my mind what music I wanted played at my funeral and whether my ashes would be dumped off the rocks at the beach or scattered around a scarlet oak tree, I went along.
Doctor Flexi-thorn said.”Not here anymore. No problem now. Maybe just vascular lump.”
Ahhh that sounded better, well oddly vague, but meh, it seemed a typically Asian attitude.
So some weeks later when I resigned from my job and came back to Australia and had my scheduled follow up at the oncologist, I told her about the mysterious lesion found after the bike accident, she booked me in for a CT scan which led to a whole body scan and another CT scan and here I am tonight tapping out my thanatophobia, (my ever present fear of death and dying) in words few if any will read. I am worried this time though, as they have taken it so seriously. Yes the truth is that breast cancer treatment, well the radiation, causes bone cancer in far too many cases and when I saw the images of my chest on view at the nuclear medicine dept, I saw a few fairy lights on the image. The radioactive glucose they inject is drawn to hotspots of glucose loving things like tumours.
It is something else, osteoporosis? Perhaps it was just bony shit growing there from all those stupid multi vitamins and minerals I took for years to calm my thanatophobia. All those years worrying about dying and being ill! What a fucking WASTE of my life! Today I have been reflecting on all of that. I am the classic wastrel. I have been blessed with a number of talents. I paint and draw passably well, I sing pretty well, I played the piano pretty well for a time until I had no piano, I write fairly well, I love to cook and grow stuff, I love hard physical WORK like landscape gardening. I sew well and designed clothes. I was a reasonably good psychic (clearly not too good with myself!) I have had a couple of business that showed promise. I had a 20 year teaching gig which I never considered a career. It was something I did until the REAL career showed up. I have been avidly into health, medicine and some branches of science including psychology. I adored travelling and meeting people, I am generous to others and interested in helping out. I consider myself a spiritual seeker,yet here I am on the threshold of finding out all the mysteries by dying and I feel totally pissed off with myself, because underneath it all I feel a failure. I feel I have only lived a bit of my life. I could have developed something deeply and thoroughly but instead I played with everything because once I could do a bit I dropped it knowing I could do the rest if I wanted to at a later point but that point never came back around. I have been a professional dilettante.
Tomorrow I find out about the results I hope, if my onco manages to call me. I am making a solemn promise to myself here…not a diet type promise that I know will break after a few days…but a real one. IF the results are good and I am clear I promise I will do one thing and do it well for the rest of my time.
Now…just what was that?