I Want Out Of This Body

Zine from the CancerGram 15 of 18, concerning my inner life as the radiation treatments progressed through February and March, 2017.

The things I hadn’t accomplished in my life — in love, family, career, service — those goals felt lost. Tired and irradiated, I couldn’t imagine finding love, making a family, building a career or being useful to others. A kind of finality fell over me.

I understood that I might survive, that the treatment would work and maybe I would rebound. Nevertheless, it became clear that my old life, with my old hopes and dreams, was over.

As I considered it, I felt somewhat indifferent to life. I wasn’t filled with any powerful desire to live or to fight, or to do anything in particular. I would write no bucket list. As I gave up, I felt relieved. All the pressures and expectations I’d put on myself, and been driven by, melted away.

This body, that I had always occupied restlessly, with some discontent, was spoiled. As it changed, ached, fattened, cooked and melted, I became less attached to it, less connected. It smelled different, moved more slowly, felt weaker and less capable. I no longer recognized myself. I wanted out.