I wrote my last post on my phone, which is something I do a lot these days. I hate typing on my phone. I am trying to instill more discipline in my work life by not logging onto any of my personal sites on my desktop. They told me they don’t care as they know everyone has Gmail and Facebook open in other tabs, but I know that if I do the same, the next time I look up, it will be time for lunch.
Back to year ten…I underwent my annual neck ultrasound last week. My age is wrong in the results, and I realized it’s been that way a number of years now. I am listed as a year younger than I am, and it always says “thyroid gland absent” as if this is a revelation. There have been years I was indifferent, and years where I have been wound up so tight I explode at someone, usually myself. I hate myself for this. I am unable to forgive myself for this. Despite everything, I still think I control my fate. This year I was indifferent, through the different transducers. the color doppler studies that were only performed on my left side, the tumor’s side. And when the results came in that said I am 37 and my thyroid gland was absent, there was nothing else to say.
For the last five years of my working life, I’ve been hoping for a recurrence. I want to be pulled out of the limbo of a “biochemically incomplete response.” I also don’t want to go to work and would rather have cancer again then continue on in my current career.
I’m going to say that again.
I would rather have thyroid cancer again than continue in my current career.
I remember how happy I was to go back to work after the first time. I was amongst friends, it felt normal, and very little was asked go me in those days. Since then, none of my workplaces have felt that comforting. It was likely an anomaly. I was a sympathetic figure of course, 28 years old, losing weight (yay women who find a way to meet conventional beauty standards!) and coming into my own. Or so it seemed. In hindsight, I was veering off the road. My life in Los Angeles can be summed up in one word: isolation. In every sense of the word. My only connection is to the mountains and the hiking trails I race up and down on weekends.
I have examined the reasons for my leaving many times; it was an idea I was already trying to put into motion pre-cancer; I needed a change; I needed to leave the place where I had been sick; I needed a new challenge at work (let’s be honest- I can barely work; I spend more than half of the week doing nothing because I can’t focus); and of course, I needed to save myself from the Dr. Overinvolved situation and physically removing myself was the only way, as my own dysfunction and damage pulled me towards him with a force that felt as strong as gravity itself. I knew I was the one who had the power to change our fate. But I’ve missed him everyday since. I thought I would meet someone appropriate who looked at me the way he did, who made me feel seen and heard, who was comforting, whom I wanted to know back. But I’m invisible, back to not being seen, and so lonely.
What do I do? Go home? Go somewhere else?
In 2011, I was accepted to a post-baccalaureate program for pre-med. I didn’t go. Because money and fears about health insurance. And fears in general.
In 2015, I was accepted to a dual degree MSW/MPH program at a top five university. I didn’t go. Because I would have been destitute.
Given the cost, further education is no longer an option. I also believe I have lost the patience to tolerate the grind of such rigid structure. The rhythm and predictability of the professional office life is part of what I am chafing against, after all. Forced into this, forced into that; it doesn’t feel like something I am doing willingly at all anymore. It never felt this difficult before and that’s how I know I am at the end of this road. I thought it was just my last role, but it’s this entire field. It’s everything.
One of the drawbacks for all the travel I have done is that I want to keep moving, see more, then pick up and see more, rinse and repeat. But that desire doesn’t fit with how I have to live, or how it seems I have to live, in order for all of my other needs (money and health insurance) to be met. I have enough money to do this on the short-term, to move out, lock it all up and hit the road, but it’s not sustainable of course. When I draw the escape map, it always lacks an ending because the road ends at another cubicle farm.