Before I continue with my journal entries which still lag a couple weeks behind present day, I think it would be useful to state that things are not as bleak as they must seem in the steady course of symptoms, ominousness, and an overall sense of sands mounding in the business end of the hourglass. Given the purpose of this journal, this is largely unavoidable and would be, I believe, largely uninteresting. However, at this stage, as yet a relatively lively one, ominous symptoms and bleak prognosis notwithstanding, objects in these reflections may appear larger than they are. For instance, for the last few days in real time, my hand is regaining some of its functionality and my voice is regaining some of its strength. You just didn't know it yet given journal lag and may not have known it upcomingly as I would likely, as often I have, foregone the largely uninteresting parts.
***12/ 23/ 13
Even in the early days of my glial adventures, car rides of two hours or more could be a struggle, mostly when said and done, keys pulled, pocketed. The nervous system if slightly off-kilter, can send you reeling with no warning. It's the relatively abrupt cessation of velocity -- in the ears, the eyes, even in decelerating conversations; because passengers will lower their voices out of a strange respect for the decrescendo of tire on macadam, wind through window cracks.
I tried useful descriptions like "vertigo" to give my early-days neurologists that they might further guess at the nature of my emergent condition. I went clinical, hoping to approximate a sensation they could readily grasp--a silly assumption since I had no idea if they'd had personal experience with the affliction at all, sillier still since I sure hadn't. As it turns out, descriptions are useless when the nondescript and the described need not apply.
As it turns out, lesson not learned. Similes without cognitive stepping stones are as useful as neurons without synapses. As it turns out, you just have to be there. The best describers can do is aim for the median and hope for the largest collateral spray. So it was that over time, my portfolio of useful descriptions diversified and my aim improved.
In the middle to latter days of these tumor-defined times, my doctors know my case thoroughly enough, my family and friends intimately enough, my acquaintances roughly enough such that I can direct my attention toward introspection, away from explication. I can resort to rote, relieved of creative exhaustion, recuperate, and alchemize my experiences to a more valuable creativity. Engendering this journal. Made manifest in my poetry. Materializing as embellishment in memoir, as out and out lies in my fiction.
***12/ 29/ 13
Tips for multiforme:
> "Don't fight the hand that feeds you." As the numbness in your left hand progresses, you may find yourself in a bewildering tug-of-war with yourself. Don't panic! This is not an existential crisis incarnate. This is you incarnate trying to retrieve your cellphone from your left, front pant pocket. After some rooting amidst back-up splash-zone hankies (those stashed variously on your person at all times in the event of reflexive returns of liquid intakes--more and more common as your mouth rebels), you reach over to assist your left hand with your right. You locate and grasp the cellphone, begin to retract your right hand. Resistance. Tug. Tug. A paranormal force pitted against your effete normal one. Panic! No, don't panic. You'll get your phone back. Tell Lefty to let go. It's all in good fun.
> "Turn into the skid." In your case, fall into the fall. When good old terra firma goes undulant Perelandra, or when a best-intentioned dachshund insists that it only takes one to tango, fall into the fall. Don't panic. The odds are decent (decent) that you were already headed in a sensible direction, no bed of coals in your path, no protruding Wild Turkey bottle shards. It's counterintuitive but it's your best chance at survival. Don't panic. Moreover, don't be a hero. You are currently in a relatively unprovoked free fall; the odds are goodly (goodly) that you are currently and previously incapable of dropping into a tactical tuck and roll. No heroics. Live to fall again.
> "Is your glass half empty or half full?" There are two types of people in the dexterity-challenged world: Those whose shoelaces are tied one bunny ear shy of a pair, and those whose shoelaces hop gleefully, unabashedly behind. What type of surrenderer are you? Stubborn but ultimately sensible, or carefree from wire to wire? You can choose which but you can't choose whether.
> “To assume makes an ass out of you and me.” Just let the chips fall because you should: Always assume you have mac'n cheez on your face as high as your neap-tide hairline and/ or as wide as behind your ears where you daintily dab your Diamonds or defiantly deluge with your Drakkar. Always assume you have broccoli casserole in your teeth as deeply embedded as your neap-tide gum line and/ or as distantly consumed as last Thanksgiving. Lastly and perhaps most importantly, always, always assume you still have Surfin' Berry Punch on your upper lip.
***12/ 30/ 13
There are a lot of things my wife did not bargain for when we got married eighteen years ago today and at least one thing she never would have guessed. To call her a trooper respecting the latency of my roguishness would be crass, profoundly inadequate, and categorically goofy. To call her a hero respecting the nascency of my disease would be crass, profoundly inadequate, and categorically goofy.
[A poem bethought of as I wrote today’s entry—it’s about year old, therefore, probably just about the time the tumor was changing gears]
“A Few Notes On the Tumor”
The tumor is not a freak of nature.
It’s a diplomat thereof
Come to finagle territory
For the motherland.
The tumor is not an interloper.
It’s the lash of a flagellant
System unleashed to rein-in
The human pride.
The tumor is a new idea
Bethought by a cellular
Synod in thrall to the orthodox,
To time immemorial.
The tumor is a tag-a-long
Whose watch is synchronous; it’s the ape
In your shadow, the familiar
With whom you share contempt.
***1/ 1/ 14
Mostly because I'd be remiss not to commemorate this date by jotting pithy thoughts but also because
. . . I'm drawing a blank.