Before my diagnosis this summer, I honestly could not have told you that October was Breast Cancer Awareness month. With all of the millions Komen and others sank into this effort I didn’t know and honestly didn’t give a damn. I thought the whole ribbon thing was ridiculous, but then I generally look upon those kinds of movements with suspicion anyway. Plus I have a full life and plenty of interests, advocating for disease prevention wasn’t one of them. To be honest, I’d rather it still wasn’t. I am not here on any level by choice. I resent that I even have to care. It’s a simmering level of anger that will never go away. Cancer has even ruined my enjoyment of cleaning.
I love the Swiffer Sweeper. If you’re not familiar with one, you attach an electrostatically treated cloth to a flat rectangular base at the end of a long pole. And then you sweep. It glides across my hardwood floors like buttah and it makes cleaning a breeze. It’s one of my favorite things to use. In fact, when I had carpeting in one apartment for two years I viscerally missed my Swiffer.
I was incapacitated by back pain today and I needed support to stand and to walk. And, as it turns out, the Swiffer without a cloth attached works as a pretty good cane. Kind of the clean freak’s version of the quad cane.
As I used my new Swiffer cane to make my way around my expansive 840 ft³ apartment, my toilet leaked. I couldn’t bend over well enough to mop and then wring out the fucking mop because I needed support to stand comfortably. And there I stood. I looked down at the drenched mop head and my impromptu Swiffer cane before me and I lost it. I became a bloody mess of tears. And because of the needle that intentionally pierced my lung yesterday, it even hurt to cry.
My oncologist called me this evening and made me aware that sometimes Tamoxifen will cause tumors to grow before they actually shrink (and I kind of recall reading this at some point). This may be what is happening to the lesion in my lower back. And so the use of Oxycodone for pain management begins. Yet one more symptom of how cancer is taking over my life. Miserable fucker that it is. But as my friend clarified: Would you rather be walking around with a Swiffer or do you want to manage your pain so you can live your life?
She’s right, of course. Though I would potentially leave the cleanest trail in New York City.