My friends, this blog entry has been the most difficult to write, but the most necessary: some of you have already been in contact, and know. I have not been able to write on my blog this whole week, because I need to confess, need to be truthful about what happened, and to let you know that without you, this would have no meaning at all.
Take a deep breath – because here is everything you’ve been asking, and it stings:
The Truth About The Cancer, And Other Necessary Confessions
Saturday 18 February 2012
Last year, a skin infection I’d had some years back, resurfaced, and viciously. The cause had been my poor diet and my laziness changing oil in the deep fryer I ran pretty much constantly. In 2008 there was a fear it might be cancerous. In 2011, some biopsies were done, there were suggestions of specialists and some samples sent. It looked very much like the cancer had come home to roost. I did some research because there was not reference to which kind.
In the mean time, my drug use escalated, and the same day that my doctor told me to prepare for the very real possibility that I might have cancer, my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer; and my sister-in-law, with cancer of the womb.
The word was out, at work – because I’d spoken to my boss, in tears, about the cancer, and …well, the truth is, it was never confirmed that I had cancer, but by this stage, a lot of people thought I had. I’ve never let the facts stand in the way of a good story – that’s just a nice way of saying that I am a seasoned …liar. That is not a pleasant thing to type, to say – to admit to oneself, much less the world at large, reading this blog. Drugs make you a very, very good liar. With the lying skills of a politician.
I let the lie slide; it was easier than confessing that the skin infection turned out to be just that, with complications from months of daily crystal meth binging, and the filthy creature I had become. Depression and self-loathing were my constant companions; I was looking for a way out. Everyone is so judgmental about suicide: it’s so selfish they say, such a waste. That affected me – for some bizarre reason, you can have the thickest skin about certain aspects and traits, and not give a damn what people think, but be so acutely sensitive about other parts of your being, and how you are perceived – and I couldn’t simply end my life with a plain, simple “I’ve given up and decided to die!” note and subsequent death. Nope, then everyone would call me selfish, say that I was a dreadful waste of talent, and that would be my legacy. Why should it have mattered? If I’d been successful in my drive to kill myself, I’d not be around to hear what people said about me, and one’s own legacy is one thing that everyone is guaranteed never to experience.
I’d planned my death; 120 sleeping pills, and a friend to help me if that failed: I was going to inject myself with a massive amount of heroin and go out like that. So although I cared arrogantly, selfishly about being called selfish, I didn’t care that there were people being hurt by the lie of the cancer, because if you’ve got terminal cancer, and decided to take your own life, well, only a cruel and uncaring person devoid of any compassion would criticize you for that. Anyone who has lost a family member to cancer will understand that.
That was my life: cold, calculated selfishness and fleeting and panic-ridden concern about people’s perception of the façade I’d put up.
So with all my gregarious force, I lived the roll of the terminal cancer patient, despite it being obvious to so many that there was no cancer. I hurt a lot of people, deeply.
My sister, dealing with the shock of the sudden diagnosis and vicious onslaught of cancer, had to cope with that, with her grieving family and my selfishness. We’ve always been close, best of friends, but I’ve always shut her out of the drug part of my life, because she is so innocent, so pure, so naïve, when it comes to drugs, but she’s not stupid.
My family, who had to deal with my losing my job, the debate on whether I had cancer or not, and the very obvious drug abuse.
My colleagues, beside themselves with a friend and colleague whose performance crashed and burned, my bosses, Thami, Pearlene, Clinton, Gary and Lisa, who time and again offered to help, asked if they could help, some paying my bills – yet I slapped their hands away, too. Lost my job. Lost my car.
Thomas, whose near-panic and frantic phone calls when I went into silent mode circled the globe, trying to trace me, researching the various cancers, all while dealing with the loss of his father to cancer and his own cancer treatment.
Zoë, who sat there, horrified as I plied lie upon lie until she broke down in tears.
Shireen, who shares a special bond with me as our mothers both died of cancer. She’d phoned me in tears when first the lie was born.
Nicole, whose wedding I missed while binging on meth; Karen who called so many times; Katie who was forced to watch earlier binges on other drugs; John and Casey, who patiently tried and pushed and asked, until they just couldn’t stick it out any more. Mark who had to pull away as I sank down lower, deeper.
Gisela, Gil, Kelly, and Peggy, and Lars, and David, and Gerhard and Susan and Glenda, who all bombarded me with phone calls and emails, when I first ‘got sick’ and who have stuck by me, when the truth about the meth came out.
Ros, whose raw emotion at my tales has brought a responsibility to bear upon them, that they are honest, and truthful.
Helen, who I’d not seen in years, and who tried to do an intervention from Cape Town but was wisely advised that she’d not want to witness the horror.
Lorraine, Melanie, JP – so many who took the time to stop, and say they cared.
Jane, who’s had her own ocean of troubles to navigate, and who – despite all that – took the time out to try and comfort me, and to track me down when I went MIA from reality.
Gill, boss and friend; who bore the brunt of the firestorm when it went wrong, at work.
James D, who I have been nothing but a risk and a danger to for so long, but who has been the very epitome of forgiveness and true friendship.
Clelland, who took time out from her Jo’burg trip, to do a one-man intervention, and to appeal to my intellect, and who’s been guiding me back to the light, ever since.
Dustin and Lynne, who brought me birthday gifts, filled with flyers and numbers for rehabs, and councilors.
My best friend, whose name you’ll know if you need to, who lived the hell with me, who was the buffer between my craziness, and the world, who had to watch my ragged body wilt, and my mind derange, and suffer all the abuse and anger and rage, who had to pay for everything when my income stopped, and suffer the indignity of me selling his furniture to buy more drugs, who found me after the 120 pills were swallowed, and beat some sort of sense into me during the days that followed as I became hysterical because I had survived, and who I manipulated and abused and lied to and hurt, and who is the best thing ever to happen to me, while I am the very worst thing to happen to both of us. And, GOD, how it aches not being near him, not being able to fix the pain, the hurt, the carnage that I left his life in.
There are more out there – I’d name you all, if I could. I wish I could undo this, take it all back and make it not happen – but I can’t. I’ve hurt you, badly. I’ve lied to you, a lot. I took your care, your concern, your love, and spat in your face. I wish I could undo all the pain and anger you’ve suffered and felt, but I can’t.
Here’s what I am choosing to do: I am choosing to heal, and to live, and not for you, but for myself. I will survive because what I owe you is remorse and respect and though I may never see some of you ever again, there are dues, and what I am going to do, for you, for the dues I owe, is to pay it forward, just like that clichéd movie. My story, my words that have been so meaningless and empty because there have been no actions, they will be acted upon, are being acted upon – and will be the tools I use to help create an awareness of how savage the drug, how dark the evil within each one of us, that we must fight, that I must fight, each day, and if I can change someone’s mind, stop them for just one day (because the monster is THAT huge, to hope for more is to hope for failure!) and get them to reconsider, then that victory, is yours. That life saved, or prolonged, will be because of you.
Guys, I don’t expect your forgiveness, I accept your anger, dismay, disappointment as my fault, wholly. I don’t expect you to hang around and wait for me to heal – I know some relationships are damaged beyond repair and I have lost some truly special people, who enriched my life. These are my scars – but don’t let them be yours. I am healing me; please allow the healing to take place for you, too.
Love, and respect, and thanks.
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