In a Southern Drawl the dentist said, “OK. I’m just going to look at it; I’m not going to touch it, or do anything.”
The little boy cringed and wrapped his fingers around the end of the chair’s arm. All he could remember was his cousin telling him how much it hurt to when the dentist pulled out a tooth when he was 9-years-old. The boy remembered the cousin describing how the tooth had ached for days before it got pulled. He had also described the excruciating pain he felt every time he chewed a piece of food. The boy also remembered his cousin telling him that each bite had an aluminum foil taste, but he was not sure how the cousin knew what foil tasted like. With the dentist reaching for his face the little boy thought, ‘Maybe Cousin Joe bit some foil his Mother used to baked a potato, or foil that was used to wrap a sandwich in for his lunch.’
The young boy thought, “This is going to hurt.”
Unaware of the boy’s concern the dentist said, “Open wide”, and pushed his hand into the boy’s mouth. He moved a sterile device over the tooth, the kind that is shiny and clean. In just a moment the boy raised his head and screamed, “MOMMY!”
His Mother who was sitting across the room quickly ran across to her son and wrapped an arm around his sweet, innocent face and comforted him as only a Mother can do (Dad’s can do it too, but kids love their Mother).
The dentist looked at the Mother and said, “He does have a cavity and it is obvious that the nerve is exposed. I can numb it up, go in to clean it out and then put a filling in it. This will fix the problem and remove the pain.”
The young boy’s Mother nodded in the positive and said, “Go ahead doctor. We need to help him.”
The face of the boy expressed nothing but panic as he pulled even closer to his Mother.
Have you ever had a situation like this? Have you ever had a bad day, was surrounded by a coworker, child or maybe a spouse and said, or thought, “You are working on my last nerve?” Ever faced a pain that just wouldn’t go away?
Ever felt that you only had one last nerve available to deal with the world and it was exposed for the entire world to twist and pull, never releasing you from the hell of its existence?
I have an exposed nerve reaching straight out of my chest, like a third arm or a plant extending out of my chest. This nerve is being abused and raped to no-end, the result of the demon cancer. This exposed, raw nerve leads directly from my heart and is connected to my brain, sort of like a mental ball-and-chain. It’s a chain that is being tugged and pulled by emotion and a sense of helplessness.
When I left my parent’s home this past Thursday I packed the trunk of my vehicle, said good-bye to my Dad and Mother (hugging each with the pain of knowing what has happened and what will happen) and walked out to the vehicle. Of course, standing next to the vehicle was the stranger that accompanied me on my drive up (if you’ve not read my previous post please do that before continuing).
The stranger, who looked like me said, “Oh, this is going to be a lot of fun. You’re already upset before you even get in the vehicle. How are you going to do this?” So I bravely entered the auto, rolled down the window, waved to my parents (‘with a strong upper-lip’ as the saying goes) and drove away.
I only drove around the corner and parked outside a building, the upper-lip was only a façade. Andy was not A-OK, the moment of release had been on-hold and the stranger was with me again.
Believe it or not my first thought was “This can’t be happening.” But my strange traveling companion reached into my stomach, twisted it just a little and said, “Oh yea. No doubt this is happening. You were at the oncology appointment with your brother, sister-in-law and parents. You heard the doctor say that the chemotherapy would shrink the cancer, that it could not be surgically removed due to complications and that the chemo would be administered in weekly doses, 3 weeks in a row, skip a week and then started again.”
I thought to myself, “Yep, I heard that.”
The stranger twisted the inner layers of my stomach again, then reached up and ripped the nerve from my chest as he said, “Its cancer!” It felt as if there was nothing connected to my heart, just an exposed opening with very little air in my chest – my single, raw nerve was possessed by a demon.
The cancer demon! There was no reason to breathe deep, my chest seemed opened yet empty and the nerve was being massaged by cancer emotions.
I turned the radio on in an attempt to sooth my thoughts. I thought, “If I can calm down maybe the nerve can be shoved back into my chest.” It seemed as if the stranger who taunted me had done enough, until I was reminded that the 6-9 month prognosis had been extended, possibly to a year or more. The doctor said, “I can give you estimates and averages. Only God knows the answer has he has not talked with me about it.”
In the doctor’s office that day I mentally snatched this statement and pulled it close. The comment echoed my religious upbringing and faith. It’s that kind of statement that is perfect and should snatch me back from my emotional situation.
But the agony of the moment, while sitting in my car, was overwhelming and there was no repelling of my emotions.
All of this occurred before I could get out of town. I stopped for fuel and went inside to wash my hands. The girl working the register was an innocent bystander to my emotions. She did not know me or what was taking place. I considered telling her about my Dad, probably because I was alone, but she seemed more interested in texting someone on her cell phone. So I exited the building and walked back out to my vehicle. There were a couple guys that had been sitting in their car and I wondered if they had noticed a blank-stare on my face, but they were talking; what was going on in my life was of no interest to them either.
At that moment I felt alone. But then I remembered all of my friends who have offered their support, all of the emails I’ve received, along with all the comments on my 2 blogs and tweets I’ve received from friends around the globe.
I started the vehicle’s engine and although I did feel a little better realized that an emotional thought was only a moment away and I was only a twist of the strangers hand away from being pulled back to reality.
Much like my drive to visit my family, the drive home was lonely. There were moments of sadness whenever I was reminded of what was going on with my Dad and the nerve was yanked from my chest when I considered what would happen between 6 months and whenever.
Things had not changed. During the rest of my trip home the stranger stayed with me, talking about the cancer.
He sat next to me holding the nerve; ever so slightly rubbing, pulling, and rolling the nerve between his two hands so as to never relieve me of the pain, not allowing the pain to be removed and subside. Occasion he would jerk my one last exposed nerve from my chest and remind me of the prognosis and how I could not change it.
So, while you tweet or email me keep in mind that I have an exposed, raw nerve protruding from my chest, waiting for something to twist and yank on it.