Going on three days’ worth horrible bone pain. Nothing attenuates it. Dr. is unsympathetic. I’m running a solid 9 on the pain scale and he suggests Tylenol in addition to the other meds I take. It does not work. He grumbles and gives me the mildest opioid there is.

I’m not a pill head; never have been. If I could have a couple of shots of Ruby Red, I’d probably feel better, but the thought of alcohol gives me waves of nausea.

I can’t find my ass with both hands anymore. It started November 4, when I got the call that there was a suspicious finding on my x ray. That day turned my world upside down.

CT scan followed the next few days, followed by a phone call that confirmed lung cancer.

The whirlwind of doctor visits, PET scans, MRIs, biopsies, and finally, a lobectomy of my upper left lobe. The tumor was huge, really. That was January 12. Pain still persists and shortness of breath is my best friend.

Next shock: I started chemo yesterday. Not because of mets, but to knock out any lingering microscopic cancer cells lurking in hidden tissue or organs The regimen is short but brutal. I get a triple dose of two drugs every three weeks. If I can handle it. I asked how long the side effects would last between doses and the answer was airy, but blunt. 4 to 5 days, but those few days would be hell on wheels. My hair is going to fall out soon. Nausea is already paying a visit, but I have good drugs for that when I remember to take them. I can look forward to mouth sores, more neuropathy, blood sugar swings, and weekly blood tests for white cell counts. Whee.

I can’t shoot a rifle anymore. The mediport excludes that. My left side has a pacemaker. I asked when I would get the port taken out and the nurse said, ‘never’. That hit hard. I will not be cured. What a kick in the ass. I have a small bit of gratitide for the port, though. My hands and arms are still bruised and tender from the needlepoint they performed for the lobectomy. Now all the blood draws can be done in my chest.

This next part is the most important.

My support system is amazing. I never expected the outpouring of care and love from the people I know even though I’ve not met most of them. Offers of rides, monetary gifts, food, phone calls and texts, you name it. My independent life has been humbled. I’m just now learning to accept with gratitude the help and hope so freely given without expectation. This is the essence of love. I want to hide my face and weep for the grief I feel, but then I am reminded of so many people lifting me up and gladly carrying me, and so I won’t give up. I will never give up.

I always thought if I ever had a disease like cancer, I would know it, feel it like an alien in my body.

It hasn’t been that way at all. The symptoms crept in one small twinge at a time, one extra cough at a time, one afternoon nap at a time.

One day, I was willing to bet I had a touch of COPD. I would have lost that bet the next day.

The medical machine crunk up slowly, idling for a scant week. Then that machine, that infernal machine, kicked into gear and started rolling toward an end I cannot see or fathom.

I’m not sick-yet. I’m not at the finality of the diagnosis-yet. But, I am paralyzed on this new road. It’s not familiar and it looks dark up ahead. The steering wheel is in a white-knuckle grip.

So, tomorrow, the machine picks up speed. Someone said, it’s like being handed a grenade with the pin already pulled.