Feren (feren) wrote,

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It's official as of 0730 this morning: Bogie (better known as That Damned Farting Coworker) has cancer of the esophagus. The doctors operate on him next Tuesday, and they figure it could go anywhere from four to eight hours in length. Nobody has an idea how long it will take him to recover from the surgery in the hospital or how long he'll be out of the office on disability. Of course, that's not the nastiest part, not by a long shot. The surgery is a painful and involved one: to ensure they're removing every last bit of the cancer they will have taken half his esophagus, and pulled his stomach up, removing about half of that as well, but it actually gets worse.

I dare you to guess what the real killer is, the single most vicious part of this little cosmic dance. Some of you might see this coming, but it certainly blindsided me: Once the operation is complete the doctor is still only giving him five years. Five years. Five years for the man who quit smoking and took up walking during lunch because he wanted to make himself a healthier person. Five years of life even after he's done being subjected to the pain and suffering of having the top half of his gastrointestinal tract removed. It's like some bizzare repeat of my cousin Priscilla's situation, only this time it's just some random cell that started growing out of control that's to blame instead of a doctor's ignorance. Five years. Five years of what? What kind of life is that, knowing that each day is numbered just like it was before... but that each number has suddenly become much, much more valuable because they've been taken from a limited supply to a piddling allocation? Wondering if you'll wake up in the morning, if you'll have any quality of life towards the end?

It's true that we're all dying. Now Bogie is just dying faster than the rest of us.

Five years, even with a successful "treatment."

And yet here I am.

It's hard to make that all fit, it's incredibly difficult to find the equation for it where both sides balance out. Survivor's Guilt is the popular term that shrinks like to sling around in cases like this, and I'm carrying a heavy case of it, especially given my family's medical history. It doesn't make any sense to me, how I went through eight months of treatment and got a clean bill of health. At the end of it I was waiting for some twist just like this, but it never came. It's as if some djinn emerged from a bottle and said "You have passed the trial, you may have your life back -- try to make the most of it." I got my life back after eight months of treatment, one type amongst many available to me... and Bogie is going through to endure the only treatment available for him, and he's still not going to come through the other side.

How in the blue fuck do you fit that into your world?

I cross the ocean for a heart of gold
Tags: friends, health, thoughts

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