Flashlight Redux: Checkmate

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 13.266% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

Battling cancer feels like making a series of moves and countermoves, and every move puts you in check.  Because there is a point at which the doctors will abandon treatment, and call for hospice.
Hospice is checkmate.  Hospice is, “There’s nothing we can do for you, so let’s just make you comfortable.”
Hospice is game over.
And as you get pushed closer to the edge, seeing worsening signs, every triumph has that desperate ring of “checkmate” lurking in it.  Your whole sense of “positive events” warps.  You find yourself hoping for outcomes that would seemed horrible months ago.  Well, she has a new tumor in her brain, but no tumors in her spine!  Maybe she’ll get to have that life-threatening brain surgery that could destroy portions of her cognitive function!
And eventually, even the awful outcomes get taken from you, to leave you with the inevitable.
Yesterday was checkmate.
Maybe Rebecca can get some treatments, but the treatments will most likely gift her a few weeks.  At this point, we’re fighting for her to see another summer.
If you’re concerned about Rebecca, and you’re local, the Meyers need people to do their laundry and other minor tasks so they can focus on their children.  Email Gini for details.
If you’re concerned about Rebecca and you’re distant, and you have some spare cash, donate to CureSearch for Children.  One beautiful thing about humans is we try to wrest good things from the most awful outcomes – and while we may not be able to save Rebecca, we can do our damndest to ensure that future children have better treatments for this sort of thing.
And if you cannot donate, send good wishes, prayers, whatever kind energy you have.   I don’t know if it helps.  But kindness cannot hurt.  Be kind to someone.  (Especially yourself, if you’re too low on funds to donate; self-care is kindness.)
If you’re concerned about me, just realize I’m going to be a little spacy for some time.  I would be comforted, in some small way, if I thought that someone in the world knew how to endure this situation in a graceful fashion, one where they were peaceful and calm and not rattled, and it was me who was merely insufficient. But I think the only person who could do that would be a sociopath, which means in the entirety of the universe there is not one good outcome, and that devastates me in ways I cannot name.


  1. Sara Harvey
    Mar 30, 2014

    I got nothing. Except tears.
    If it might make your load a tiny bit lighter, know that we’re all carrying a little bit of this impossible sadness with you.

  2. Albert Hwang
    Mar 30, 2014

    . . . well, fuck.

  3. Lydia
    Mar 31, 2014

    I’m so sorry.

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