Hello, Beautiful People!
Well. What a great day December 3rd was. Good, anyway. I was played right out, though, I tell you what. I went to the Montreal Massacre Memorial event that Rape Relief puts on every year. This year it was at the Native Education Centre, not the central branch of the library, because there was a flood in the library a couple of months ago and they’ve still not finished cleaning that up.
It was a good space to have it, the NEC. Much smaller than the library, which was kind of good too, because it felt like it was really well-attended. Anyway it WAS well-attended. Women came from all over the place, and all over the politics. Some men, too. Allies, real ones, not the sensitive guytm kind. Though I’m sure there were some of those there for a bit. The roundtable discussions and lectures and conversations hit all the points – Law, activism, social services, education, –the day confirmed that we are living in pretty bleak times, the backlash is strong, women-only spaces are increasingly necessary and increasingly rare, heterosexuality is more forcefully coerced, perhaps more than anywhere else in the queer “community” with that impossible-to-pronounce-homogenizing acronym “Lgbttiqqetc”. I sound flippant every time I talk about the conservatism and misogyny of the trans trend that is promoted by every institution of power, but it is a serious threat to women’s liberation and possibly more effective than Lepine’s 1989 women-hating murderous rampage. Sorry, that was a long sentence, and now I’m going to move on without going into a longer explanation right now of what I mean by all that.
It wasn’t all gloom and doom, thought, not at all! We also celebrated women’s resilience and the powers we share with each other in the pursuit of liberation. It was one of the best memorials I’ve been to. Women get it. Why we have to remember, and what the connections are between the massacre and the challenges the women’s liberation movement faces today. Men don’t. Most men. Not because they’re stupid, but because they don’t want to give up their power and the space and stuff they have (at our expense). They’re willing to settle for the loss of their humanity in exchange for such power and access. We’re not. Not for them, and certainly not for us.
Anyway, now on to recent updates about the stowaway-
On Wednesday November 30, i went for my first appointment to the BC Cancer Agency, and December 8th to my second. Both times I went with Trish and Su. They took notes and asked good questions. The first time we met Esther, a nurse, Dr. Nichol, the radiation oncologist and Tracy, a counselor. Dr Nichol looks for all the world like an elf! he’s not as short as elves are portrayed, and wasn’t wearing pointy shoes, but otherwise, he looked for A LOT like one of Santa’s helpers. His ears are kind of pointy, and he has a narrow chin beard and a Vandyke moustache. Very cute. But I didn’t mention that to him. He said that as of now, there is no way to safely remove the tumour, and that it would, at some point, grow. Eventually I will have to have radiation and chemotherapy. He described some of the “side effects” (I don’t like that term. There are effects you want, and effects you don’t want—) of radiation. They sound very unpleasant. They didn’t have the genetic results of the biopsy yet, so were not 100% sure of its characteristics, but once that comes in they will be able to recommend what treatment and when. As of December 8th, they did have genetic results, and the doctor we saw then, Dr. Theissen, said that it confirmed I had a gazillion-syllable thing in my head. The name of the genetic result is about 20 times bigger than the tumour itself. Both doctors said they would opt to monitor the little critter by running my head through an MRI every few months, and when it starts to grow, then they’ll bring out the radiation and chemo. And he said, there are a whole bunch of studies going on, so it is possible they will have new treatments available in time that will be more effective and not as destructive all around as radiation and chemo. He couldn’t give me a prognosis, but did say that often people live for years with these things. Dr. Theissen was more precise, he said that often people can live for 15-20 years with these things, and usually die of other things before the tumour gets ‘em. Also, I am not allowed to drive for six months. I thought that meant May 21st at 4 pm. But good news! They don’t count the little seizure I had after the biopsy surgery, only the big terrifying one November 3rd. So that means I can drive starting May 3rd at about 2 pm. That was when I woke up from the first seizure, about 2 pm.
Also, this is bad news, Dr. Thiessen said I could never lift heavy again. Ever. In case I strained (called a Valsalva maneuver), thereby increasing intra cranial pressure and possibly triggering a seizure. Never mind that I’m pretty sure my back is past the heavy squat capabilities, I was planning to compete in 2017. Dammit. No fewer than 15 reps, he said. That’s really sad. I started to cry. Su said, “that’s okay, you can just work out lighter but with more frequency”. I KNOW, but I want to bulk up! I’m looking for the prized no-neck look, fer cryin’ out loud. I’ll just have to work up to 15 reps of 300 lb squats. That may take a little while. 275 was my best 1 rep max, and that was probably 20 years ago. Sigh.
No one knows what caused it, or how long it’s been there. My auntie believes that the accordion did have something to do with it. Also my unwillingness (inability?) to follow Mom’s orders and tidy my room – “even once, Erin, for pete’s sake!” —
In the meantime, once i recover from the biopsy surgery, I can return to work. so that’ll be January 1st. I feel quite well, except for this awful cold I have, and I still play out earlier in the day than I did before. I guess that’s to be expected when you’ve had brain surgery. The first appointment was pretty overwhelming, the second less so. But both had lots of information, not all of it the news i’d like to receive, but overall, it’s as I expected, except for the part of having this unwelcome squatter in my head forever, and never being able to lift heavy, or hike, swim or even fucking bathe alone. Because of the seizure risk thing. Oh! Dr. Theissen prescribed a better anti-seizure drug than Dilantin. That’s good. Dilantin is terrible – is contraindicated for all kinds of drugs, vitamins and supplements. Also can cause facial hair growth (which I don’t think I’d mind, especially now, it’s so cold here…). Then I would run the risk of being ‘misgendered’ though, more than I am currently, and referred to as a ‘transman’ or ze or they. Of course, I don’t know what pronouns people use when referring to me, as usually you don’t refer to anyone who is with you in the third person. That’s generally rude. I hope they use “That hilarious feminist” as my pronoun.
Anyway, good news is the grumpy stowaway is small and looks like it’s not going to grow anytime soon. Bad news is it’s not likely to leave anytime soon, either. Good news is, LOTS of material for comedy and stories. Bad news is, conductor for seizures so no more heavy lifting. But mostly the good news is that I know how much people love me, and that my contributions so far have mattered to my allies, comrades, fellow travelers. And your contributions to the glorious struggle, to the world banks of love and funny, to our shared and longed-for freedom – are essential. Doesn’t matter if we win (but we will), it matters that we do our best, feel the love, keep the faith and never give up.
That all sounds too schmaltzy and sentimental. Sorry. Oh! One more story – I’ll think of more, I’m sure. During the first cancer agency visit (I don’t have cancer, by the way, that’s another good thing), in between the doctor and the nurse or the nurses and the counselor, Trish, Su and I were tossing around ideas of career options for me, or at least how to generate an income because I gave up a couple of things when I didn’t know whether I’d have treatment or anything. I’ve always wanted to be a minister, or preacher. But I don’t believe in god, so that lets out most Christian denominations. Trish suggested to found a new religion called the Church of the Latter Day Rascals, and I said, “We’ll pray to Grumpy Old Dykes”, and Su said, “God”. I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of grumpy old dykes as an acronym for god before! So now, at my twelve-step meetings, I don’t even mind saying “GOD” because I know what it stands for now. What a relief. You can use it too, if you like. Or, Grumpy Odd Dykes. Just as good.