Friday, December 1, 2017

The Room Where STD's Happen

I'm a week out from results which means I'm six days out from the next MRI. Invariably I'm nervous... I like to live life as a hopeful romantic but often end up as a cynical optimism if any of that makes sense. How do you not step into the room that has the same type of machine that led to the awareness of cancer, the same type of machine that they used on you right before brain surgery, the same damned machine that they tested you after seizures and pretend it is no big deal? I am aware, I KNOW that I'm not on top of my game when those are nearby. My hoping and coping mechanisms are thrown off and while it's against my religion to have bad days, those are the days I come closest to sin.

A consistent thing I detest that happens on those days besides the machine is bloodwork. They always test for STD's because I always forget which ones, but apparently certain sexually transmitted diseases show up in the brain and if anything new shows up they want to know it's cancer not that. Is that supposed to be comforting? When the results come in they consistently say 'no new std's'  I joke if there are any old ones they aren't telling me about. It tells you something that I go to them alone, inviting almost no one in over 7 years of dealing with this brain cancer tumor. Reminded of my vulnerability and mortality, I try to protect other people from it (or is it myself I'm really trying to protect?). It tells you something that Elaine, the girl who is now my fiancee has never been allowed to come with me but the only people who have been properly invited since brain surgery are my brothers and daughter. I guess it was the people who were already stuck with me that I had to let in and this girl is now deciding to figure out the 'in sickness and health, for richer or poorer, for better or worse and till death do us part' should be let in. Those vows mean something rich in this situation. Our wedding won't be very traditional by any standard but I hope we figure out a way to work that in verbally but I have faith it will be true in at least life.

But Elaine's finally invited and coming to this MRI. We can call it the rehearsal dinner in its own way. I proposed before the hardest and messiest and coldest race I've done all year. And she said yes and we got it done. My gender often idealizes women to be guiding forces or damsels in distress. The reason I'm fortunate enough to be marrying her is because this will be a partnership of equals even if we are nowhere near exactly the same. The inspiration for the proposal came from a dream but it got reinforced when reading something CS Lewis said about women: “The romantic chivalric tradition takes...the young man's eye off women as they are, as companions in shipwreck not guiding stars.” I'm asking for her company at a time I know I'm a wreck while there is imaging being done on the damaged rudder to see if its anymore broken. But unlike I've done in over two years of dating I'm finally growing up to invite her to be in the room where it happens.

We've been there for messes before, some fun ones like Spartans or last week with her first attempt at the beer mile where she thought about quitting and I said we don't take quitting in this family. She had to take a penalty lap for not getting all her beer properly drank but I joined her for both parts of it (I took 2nd place in the beer mile... not sure what it says that the only two local events I've always placed in are the stroller division and the beer mile). With obstacles or bloated stomachs or IV's in the arms and metal in the brain, it's not all fun and games but maybe you find a way to smile at the beginning points in the middle and hopefully at least one good in the end. We managed that in the beer mile; but even sober I dream that smile won't ever fully fade. Apparently while drunk that weekend, I got teary eyed and voiced how this year's Turkey Trot with Kiana's PR meant to me more than any of the stroller wins. I wrote that a few days ago so it was true then and if my true persona is one that finally lets a few more sentiments be physically honest, that's not the worst way to handle alcohol in my book.

Those are the type of things that I hope to be thinking about while a machine is whirring around me. Kiana drew the engagement ring and added her own little element on to it, a dandy lion. I'm not sure how hope gets any better. It's because we'll finally have a very intimate date together  with me inside of a machine while Elaine's outside of the other room that lets me forward to a wedding date. The date has been set on 8/18/18. People think its because I was born 8/8/80 which is partly but Elaine picked it, literally one upping my birth. But 8 is also lucky in Chinese culture which is where her heritage is from. We're figuring out the details of the Save the Date Cards and I'll be thinking about that ceremony and it's details while my brain is being scanned. I've started calling them STD cards for shorts so on that side there will definitely be a way I get STD's into some people's mailboxes and homes relatively soon. We've been figuring out the invite list. It's not a huge venue but either way well... we won't be inviting anyone by obligation. But in a world where we have lots of friends the criterion we decided on was that we would invite people who we'd shared time at one or the other's home in. There are people who we're friends with because they're a similar speed or people we've worked with who are good to chat with but did we ever have a relationship in 'our own time'. If that's not true, those in my book are probably not the right people for our wedding invites.
I want to share the special occasions for those who share the ordinary times, the rest of my life with the person who handles me at my most primal fear or intensity. Turns out that those are just gradients on the scale of the wedding and the wedding invite list. So if you don't get an STD from us, don't be offended, I mean trust me having seen it after so many MRI's, the medical world thinks that new STD's would be bad.

However, it goes, who knows what it will interrupt but it is perhaps a sign that the universe has given me that I have till Monday, 3 days before the MRI and 4 days before the results that I have to land a deposit on the wedding venue we picked out. And it will, if all things are stable, have at least one more MRI before the wedding could occur. I proposed with a hope band, the medal one that also is 'hope'ful will arrive in a little while. I grew up in a country with napoleonic code and Napoleon said at least one thing I want to to echo in my marriage and my MRI: "Courage is like love; it must have hope for nourishment." Both are the best nourished they've ever been.

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