Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, your popular host, Mani the unbelievably clean, trimmed, and super-brushed purebred border collie, here today to bring you the latest news, mostly about the guy I live with. You may remember me from such posts as “Dry Grass”, among so many, many others.
Here I am in a characteristic pose. Well, not much of anything has been happening in the garden, that’s for sure. It’s so dry, it’s dry. The guy I live with keeps saying he’s going to set a sprinkler, but it never seems to happen, so things are really crispy around here.
Even though it does rain in July and August, there’s almost never enough rain here to make plants flower. Sometimes even to keep them alive. There are exceptions like the desert four o’clock, Mirabilis multiflora, but even this one is happier growing close to concrete, where there’s probably a little bit of water underneath. You can see it’s sprawling onto the driveway. The guy I live with says that having plants sprawling on the driveway “classes up the place some”, especially since the driveway needs to be replaced.(He doesn’t really talk like that, if you weren’t sure.)
The big news for me is that I went to the spa and got totally brushed, and all my mats were cut out. I got a bath. It made me feel pretty good. I’m going to show the picture of my hindquarters that the guy I live with posted on Facebook. I was okay with him showing a picture of my butt on social media. If he posted a picture of his that would be different.He said I was the first purebred border collie who lived here to go to a groomer, which I found hard to believe until he told me that his wife used to do all the brushing and clipping of mats and stuff.
It’s still really hot here so having all my undercoat brushed out certainly makes me feel better.
Speaking of feeling better, the guy I live with doesn’t, actually. He said that was okay, though. I hear it’s not a huge amount of fun having hot flashes and zero energy when it’s over ninety degrees, but that explains why almost no work has been done in the garden. The effects of the hormone therapy should wear off in a month or so.
I’m going to show some pictures of the inside of the shed, which the guy I live with built with his wife. She built all the shelves and things, and hung all the decorations and old farm equipment. Just to break up what I’m going to say here, since, as I think you can tell, this is going to be another post with serious things in it. Not all of these pictures are in total focus. The guy I live with suggested I title this post “cancer”, but I kind of didn’t want to, and thought that this title was way better. He said when he was first diagnosed with cancer, he had this vision of being in the center of a large, circular room, with hundreds upon hundreds of cancer patients standing in the shadows around the wall of the room, and he just stood there, looking at all the people, and the pain, and the fear, becoming all of that.
When the oncologist told him about the hormone deprivation therapy, and that a lot of men absolutely refused to do this, he lay awake at night for a week or so, fretting about it, but then something inside him decided to just go with it. He said it’s been a “trip, in the sixties sense”, which I didn’t understand. He tried to explain this to me. I didn’t really get it, but what he said was that people have a sense of their lives as being a sort of story they tell themselves, like there was a narrative of it, with the ego in center stage (I got that part’ we purebred border collies have considerable egos). When his wife died, a lot of that narrative fell apart. He still liked women (in fact he loves women), but losing the woman who loved him was utterly humiliating, in the sense of that being part of the narrative. Part of his ego. When the hormone deprivation therapy began to take hold, the guy I live had the sense that his ego was being torn down, like when you tear old wallpaper off the walls. He said that having this idea of the sense of himself being almost obliterated was so intensely liberating that he started dancing in the living room and kitchen. (No, I’m not going to show movies of this.) When the doctor asked him how he was doing, he replied, “Boundless joy”. Of course that wasn’t the response the doctor expected, so the guy I live with explained.
Maybe the oddest thing about all of this is that, according to the guy I live with, the usual tidal wave of advice and criticism never materialized. He was waiting for all these comments about what he should be doing, or eating, that he ought to read up on this, what someone on the internet said could happen, how he ought not to feel that way, or this way, and nothing happened. That was just weird.
He really got into the radiation treatments, thirty-nine of them, though he was very disappointed that the tattoos he got weren’t cooler. When people asked him what was going to happen after this, his answer was that he didn’t know, because he never asked the doctors what to expect.
He just lives in the present, mostly.
The past is always there, though, as you can see by these pictures. But it is the past.
He was taken aback to discover that his gender was “ever so slightly bent”, as he put it. This was probably why so many men didn’t want to have this treatment, but it was all part of the “ego suppression”, for him–just like having me do the narration for the blog.There were sudden flashes of empathy with people in similar situations. The guy I live with said that empathy was a great gift, but sometimes came at a considerable cost.
Like the time he was downtown, and there was a guy in a wheelchair trying to get across the intersection, and refused the guy I live with’s help when he offered.
So the guy leaned over and said he recognized expressive aphasia and paralysis because his dad had that, and the guy in the wheelchair said okay, he could help, and so he pushed the wheelchair across the street.
He and the guy in the wheelchair talked about this as the wheelchair rolled along, and when the destination had been reached the guy in the wheelchair said thank you, that it wasn’t very often that he met someone who “got it”, and that was that. The guy I live with said he cried a little as he walked away.Well, so, anyway, the guy I live with went for his blood test last week, and then went again a few days later to talk to the oncologist, who said that his PSA was negligible, and so he was done for at least a while. Something might happen in a year or so. He was extremely relieved that he didn’t have to undergo more treatment, at least for now.
The guy I live with asked the oncologist if he wanted to know how the guy I live with felt about all of this, and he said, sure, so the guy I live with said that it was sort of okay to have cancer, that it had him now, even if he didn’t have to go back for an appointment until the end of October. Yes, he probably is kind of different, in that respect. (I think in others, too, but he would say the same thing about me.) He can talk to people who have cancer, and come from a place that hopefully makes them feel comfortable. Maybe a good way to put this is that when he and his wife were here together, happy, he would look forward to the changing seasons, and liked thinking that he was here in the shed at the end of July and that Christmas would be coming, and he and his wife would share that together (she loved Christmas).
He bought this card and tacked it onto the wall in order to be able to look at it now, in July, and think of the happiness he and his wife would share later. Like a signpost. But after she died, “the future” seemed like nothing but a nightmare. Nothing to look forward to, and a lot to dread.
Now with the cancer, there are like these signposts ahead, marking out the future. Checking and rechecking. And that’s okay with him. It actually makes him almost happy in that respect.
And of course he has his friend to be with him, especially at the times when he needs her the most (and vice versa), and he also has me, sweet-smelling and smooth as I am. And that’s how things are, right now.
Oh, except for the fact that now that I’m covered with about half the hair I was before, I can really feel bugs landing on me. That part isn’t so great. I get landed on a lot, on my walks. Why the guy I live with doesn’t attract a whole bunch of bugs is beyond me. I would think they would like landing on him even better. But they don’t.
I waited for the explanation but there wasn’t one.
Until next time, then.