Everyone wishes they had more control over time. We wish we could go back and change the past, have more time for the things we love in the present, and peer out to see what the future holds.
I’ve found myself manipulating time this week. And I’ve managed all three of those things.
I’ve been working on the companion memoir to the Living With Lymphoma series, which has allowed me to go back and correct a few things from that difficult time. As much as I tried to communicate what was in my head during my cancer experience, sometimes important ideas didn’t all come across. With the passage of time, I can see through some of the fog clouding my thoughts of the moment and present relevant (and hopefully insightful) perspective.
Some of the posts don’t make a bit of sense until viewed through the lens of the past two years. You might remember week seven’s Rally The Troops? It was written the morning of my first chemo appointment (which was its own disaster). I had to ask myself why on earth I would ever be writing blog posts just a couple of hours before such a stressful event. The answer falls into a murky soup I’ve been straining through cheesecloth. Humor is how many of us, including me, deal with emotional stress. Then there’s the “I need to help someone” factor. What was the point of me going through all this if I didn’t provide some insight into the process for others to use as a guidepost in their own miserable trudge down this path.
But there was some else. It wasn’t fear – I had named my fears at the time – so what kept creeping in from the edges as I re-read these experiences? Something tickled my memory; I knew I had seen the answer in passing at some point, but missed its relevance. I searched the internet for Twelve Step programs, but that wasn’t it. The search results showed the answer just a few choices down. The Kubler-Ross Model.
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross predicted in 1969 EXACTLY how I would react to the situation I had been thrown into. And I didn’t see it until just recently. The Wookies and stupid jokes, the “morning of” blog posts – they were all this strange melange of Denial and Bargaining phases. I hate being predictable, but this was fascinating.
It has had a great effect on how I have been presenting the memories of my experiences of two years ago. With just that little bit of insight, I have been able to manipulate the past and bring it into sharper focus. I wasn’t shy about sharing my experience in real-time, but the story will be richer for the addition of some lady who predicted it with her scholarly Ouija board forty-five years before.
This discovery has a stunning effect on my current writing. The project stumbled and tripped its way through the story up to this point, but now it reminds me of a virtual reality where I can take myself back and see things in three and four dimensions. Viewpoints have opened up from across the room. I can see the Wookie backpack’s point. I wonder how my Oncologist is able to tell people that type of news on a daily basis. But most of all, I can see inside my mind and unravel the tangled mess I was trying to write from at the time.
I have confirmed my future through my work on this project. Should my status ever change from “Remission” to “Oh, Crap” at any point, my course will remain the same. I’ve always said I’d never let anyone touch my brain again; those guys did a great job, but access to the inside of my skull is single use only. The same holds true with the cancer. If it returns? There better be a damned pill, because I am not dedicating more years of my life to stupid medical crap. I’ve got the future charted and will just make small corrections to avoid any collisions.