sliced and diced


Every so often, usually when I am falling asleep, waking up, or lying on the table getting acupuncture, half-conscious, I am gripped by a feeling of pure, unadulterated incredulity about the fact of my cancer.  More specifically, I think about the fact that my body was cut open and organs ripped out of me, and I just can’t fucking believe it.  It’s insane.  I look at the scar on my belly every day – sometimes I even run my finger along it as I lay in bed at night, reading.  It doesn’t bother me, or gross me out.  I am totally used to it.  I can’t even remember what my abdomen used to look like before my surgeries.

But that’s not when I think about being sliced open.  Which makes sense, I guess; I can’t really hold the notion of what my body went through during every conscious moment.  It would drive me completely mental.  Instead, when my guard is down, when I am in that fuzzy in-between state, I get in touch with this particular species of violence which cancer inflicted on my body.  (Chemo, of course, being an altogether different kind of  nightmare.)

Last night I dreamed about being cut open again, but it wasn’t because I had cancer or for more surgery.  It was some kind of regular “check-up” – but for some reason my onc (a tall, Aryan-looking man – definitely not my actual oncologist) said I he was going to need to reopen my incision.  Let’s just say I went a bit nuts when faced with this information.  Luckily, I woke up before he could sharpen his scalpel and start cutting.

I remember an acupuncture treatment last winter, when I was still feeling raw – REALLY raw, as in, I hadn’t yet developed my close personal relationship with Zoloft.  My dear friend who treats me decided to place some needles on my belly.  She inserted them, and I immediately felt this shudder of terror pass through me.  In that instant I was right back on the operating table, waiting to be cut.  I saw myself from above, imagined my abdomen spread open, my internal organs laid bare, and the cancer growing on my ovary.  I pictured hands reaching into me, surgical instruments prodding me.  And the tears just rolled down my cheeks as I lay there on the table.

People have surgery all the time, I know.  My trauma is no more or less significant than anyone else’s.  But the brutality of it all, of that particular part of my cancer experience, never ceases to amaze me.

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One Response to sliced and diced

  1. Kevin Nguyen says:

    WOW. i have the same thoughts. i look at my scar everyday and i run my fingers down it too!!. Ive had 2 surgeries and the thought of it makes me happy. Plus i think the scars look nice on me. makes me look dangerous. anyways i just wanted to leave a comment tell u how much hope u have given me from ur blog. its pretty amazing. i just got home from chemo 30 mins ago.

    Kevin. 18 Raleigh NC

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