My skin is glowing from cheap spray sunscreen which is practically glittering as the rays of the sun try to penetrate its protection. My feet are tingling from being burned by the sun-scorched sand, and the water is creeping towards me as the tide advances.
As I lay here sinking into the sand, I am contemplating my next journey, which I know I may never take place even as I plan it. My next trip was going to be in the Pacific Northwest. Originally, I planned to drive up to the Seattle area and stay on Bainbridge Island for a month, then travel down to Portland to experience the hipster culture for another month. It’s a really long drive from Texas, so staying there for a while seemed like a good idea. Then I heard the news. And everything was put on pause. Taking the trip or not will be a last-minute decision, but its planned scope is already shorter than it was originally going to be.
Already, I’ve cut out the Portland portion of the trip. But I may scrap it all. I’m not bitter. The trade-off is worth more than its weight in gold. Time is a currency that can’t be traded or replaced. What really jars me, and what I am using my beach therapy for today, is that if the second opinions from various doctors do not yield alternative treatment options, I’m pretty sure she’s going to deny treatment.
As long as she does this in a fully informed manner, I support her completely. Chemo was too hard the first round, and she lost her sense of self and her sense of control when she was undergoing treatment. She was constantly uncomfortable, fatigued, and in pain. I understand not wanting to live that way. She, who is innately a caretaker, was completely dependent on her husband and sometimes her child for care. I would understand her choice, even if I don’t like it.
It’s hard to wrap my mind around the implications of that choice. How it impacts her, my family, and me. Separate and together. However, the question does not seem to be why one would deny life-saving treatment, but why one would choose life prolonging treatment when it includes such cost to the individual. Inescapably, my selfish mind has a small piece that doesn’t care; that thinks she should fight. But I was there. I know how it was. I can’t deny her choice and the rationale. It’s really the impact that I want to deny. I reach a wall in my ability to digest the maelstrom of my thoughts. So, I stop the whirring of my mind, and look at the ocean again.
The sand crabs are creeping out of their holes, and we are making each other nervous. I’m hoping that if I leave them alone, they will leave me alone. Thank goodness I haven’t seen Tremors recently.
The ocean feels colder today. But it is soothing to the stinging soles of my feet. I lay back on the towel to let the sun dry the salty water from my skin and suit, and think of the short-term future. The different directions it can take, and the limitations of circumstances. In the midst of my thoughts, I can feel my skin slightly burn notwithstanding the sunscreen; and I just don’t give a shit.
– Your huckleberry