Tales of Pink-Eye and Cancer

My this has been one hell of a week.

It began on Monday where I made an eye appointment because my eyes were red, itching, and would not stop crying. I was certain when I made the appointment with the optometrist that it was probably pink-eye. The doctor however looked at my eyes and deemed it allergies. I was skeptical because I have had allergies my whole life and never had I experienced JUST a reaction in my eyes, but as he was the “professional” I gave him the benefit of the doubt.

The following day, Tuesday, I finally had scheduled a CT scan that I had kept putting off because I had no time to do it. My work schedule has been (and is) hectic, so I never had the time but I figured that since I was so panicked about the blood in my underwear (coming from somewhere it should not ever if you’re a dude) I should make the appointment and follow through.

I went for my exam and during the procedure while they were injecting the dye into my vein it collapsed and instead of coursing through my body, probably, about half of it went into my right bicep. So for a couple days I had a bulging arm, much like popeye. After the procedure I felt silly going because I hadn’t had any further symptoms from the initial shock (aka blood.)

By Wednesday, the “allergies” only got worse and so I made a very quick follow up appointment. While rushing to that I get a call from my doctor. They had gotten back the results of my CT scan and it showed that my spleen and my prostate were enlarged and I was being referred out to a urologist for further examination.

After that lovely phone call, the optometrist (now a plucky, quirky young woman) told me I did in fact have viral pink-eye, the super contagious kind. This was after touching my eye with her bare hands (Smart) and swabbing my eyes with a giant q-tip. The cotton swab must have been just for fun because she did nothing with it and never mentioned it was being sent anywhere for testing. Her answer for my diagnosis was “good luck” and a referral to another optometrist.

Later that same day I got a call from the Comprehensive Blood and CANCER Center. They were following up because I was referred to them by my general practitioner (GP). They needed info to get the ball rolling, one piece of which was my blood work I had done the week prior.

The following day they called again to schedule a consultation for November where I (imagine) will be told I have prostate cancer.

To be fair, I don’t know this to be my prognosis. I am making a giant assumption but all the signs point to that and just like my certainty of having pink-eye I am certain that this is the case.

A few things come to mind, one of which (if there is one) god has a sense of humor. Prostate cancer is slow but trying to cure can result in sexual complications. I won’t die from this cancer, it will just kill any semblance of ever having sex again without the aid of a pump (hard pass).

I found out about a year ago that my uncle had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and instead of doing anything about it he let it sit and it has now spread to his bones. At the time I didn’t understand how one could do that. “It’s such an easy fix.” Sitting in the same position I can see where one would refuse to do anything, as that is the road I will most likely take.

The boyfriend, upon hearing my decision, was quiet. He didn’t really have any response. The husband however was annoyed and told me that my decision was bull shit and I was going to do whatever it took. While I respect his opinion more than likely I won’t be doing anything. What worth do I have if I can’t have sex? I know that’s such a petty thing to think but the psychology behind never having another erection is staggering. I remember a statistic about the army spending thousands on viagra, and I get it. For a very brief time I couldn’t get an erection and maintain it and it is a huge mind fuck for one to endure. (At least it was for me.)

As of right now, this is all just theory. I don’t have solid facts to determine anything or if what I assume to be reality is in fact true. The most comforting thing I do have is that I have two men who have repeatedly told me that they will be there for me and that is what’s getting me through, between my sudden outburst of tears (though those could just be from the pink-eye.)

Advertisements

Concerns and Observations

As I watch three long term relationships, in my tiny little social circle, coming to an end, I begin to panic and draw concern for my own. Granted, the situation is already convoluted and strange. It breaks all the social norms and we are basically treading in uncharted territory. If it is not known, I am married, have been for the past 5 years (together 15), and I also have a boyfriend, together for 6 months.

There are no secrets. Both of them know of the other. They have met a few times and once all three of us went on a “date” to see Crazy Rich Asians. Even now, as I look back on that event, I don’t recall any emotional awkwardness. It was strange in a sense because with both men there are two very different sets of actions that typically occur. What I’m referring to is with the boyfriend I am very much more “hands-on,” for lack of a better term. He is just more physically intimate than my husband. For instance, when the boyfriend (Josh, because I don’t want to keep saying “the boyfriend”) and I go to Disneyland together we hold hands almost the entire time and in general are more physically affectionate. That would NEVER happen with my husband. Not even for a second. Well, maybe, if we were in a gay bar, located in a very gay neighborhood, and he was thoroughly liquored up. Otherwise the husband (Charlie) is not a touchy-feely kind of person.

This weekend all three of us (and Charlie’s ex/current/”who the fuck knows” boyfriend) will be going to Disneyland for gay days. And for once I am filled with anxiety. Josh and I have set a precedent that will not be met because it would seem cruel to do so in front of Charlie, or vice versa. I am sure it will be fine and it will play out the way it plays out. Fuck, the whole thing is an experiment in just trying shit out and see how it goes, like some kind of emotional Russian roulette. For instance, the movie date and this other time when we all got together to play Pokémon Go. Those times were fine. Surprisingly so. Which is why I don’t understand my feelings for this little excursion.

I think part of it is linked to watching my friend’s relationship break apart. They’ve been together for 9 years and they’re now agreeing to separate. The crux of this particular relationship was that they too were in a “throuple.” My husband (ever the asshole) jokingly asked “who got the boyfriend?” Is their break-up a warning sign for things to come in my own life? But even when I go down that line of thinking I begin to wonder am I just asking this because of societal expectations of what a “relationship” is and should be? Or, in this case, is it just how it played out regardless of situations/factors. All I have to go off of is what is known, and all that exists is the common “couple.”

Then there is another couple that broke apart a year ago. Their break-up has been 100% amicable and up until a week ago were still living together, in separate rooms. What preceded their ultimate end was that they opened up the relationship. Did that relationship end because of opening things up? Or was it already played out before that and having trysts on the side was the final straw?

I like to think of myself as this scientific observer, looking at situations and trying to find the commonalities and what point brought it to where it finally fell. But, I am working with a very limited number of examples to gauge. And at the end of it all, I don’t think I want to know. Not now.

Sometimes, I think that it is SO obvious that I am an idiot for not seeing the fact that I am sitting in a pool of purple Jell-O, as I wonder where am I going to get a gelatinous dessert.

A brief snapshot

Social media is something that simultaneously astounds and appalls me. At times it brings out the lowest common denominator in some, and yet for others it coaxes out a true humanity and the love we all have inside of us.

There is a gentleman I follow on Instagram whom I have never met nor have ever conversed. It has become apparent with his recent posts that he is going through a breakup. At first it was all subtext (a lot of selfies and cheeky butt shots) or the sporadic vague post about “going through stuff.” He finally disclosed his and his husbands break-up in his Instagram story and my heart broke for him. I have watched with interest as this stranger shared his life through photos: spending time with his boyfriend as they travelled the country, to their marriage at the site of a plane crash (no joke), and as they spent time together with their son. I have “hearted” almost every snapshot into his life. And now as he goes onto a new path I eagerly watch hoping and praying for his happiness, all the while never really knowing him.

I have been blessed to have been on the reverse of that, as people who happen to read this little blog or follow me on twitter have asked me how I’m doing. They barely know me, yet something compels them to care and reach out. Their little messages bring a lot of light into my world. And because of their loving curiosity I find myself wanting to share more.

As of late life is good. Wonderful in fact. Things with the husband have greatly improved since our little Palm Springs excursion, during which we laid out all our bull shit on the table for he other to inspect. I will admit, after all the sordid disclosures it took me some time to get through the following mess of emotions, but I have since arrived at a happier place. One in which I don’t ever want to leave. There is power and peace in rigorous honesty. And the communication since has flourished.

Then there is my awesome boyfriend. He is the kindest, most understanding person and I don’t know how I lucked out twice to get such amazing men in my life.

I shared all of this with my therapist during this last Tuesday’s session. She participated in my joy, but like any good counselor she didn’t just accept the good she also asked probing questions. For whatever reason, the one that stuck with me the most was: how do I not compare the two. My immediate response was that I don’t. The two of them are so different that there is no way to hold one up to the other in comparison and to do so would be a disservice to each of them.

After having more time to mull over her inquiry, my answer is still the same but I am more confident in my response. I truly can’t compare them because neither has what the other offers. It is trite to say but they’re like little unique snowflakes. And what I realized is that to break it down into such black and white ideas is not how this works. Polyamory (if that is what this is) is more complex. There are levels and layers to affection, emotions and multiple relationships that can’t be easily described in terms of “oh he’s so much better here.”

I don’t have my fears like I did. The thought that I would somehow be replaced by my husband’s boyfriend have left me. And my fear of us “just fooling ourselves and drawing out the inevitable divorce” has waned. It still lingers at the back of my mind, but it is a faint nagging that I scarcely ponder. Much like the zen attitude of just enjoying the moments with either one, I don’t let these negative thoughts cloud my present.

So, if you’ve wondered or worried over this stranger, as of right now there is no need. But your concerns have touched me more than you’ll know.

Inebriated Confessions

The truth is something we all think we want but very rarely do we accept it or really even want it. Most of the time, people hear what they want and it turns into something else by way of preconceived notions or baggage.

This weekend I got something I’ve been longing to have for some time and that is: the truth. The real truth. For whatever reason, my husband felt fit to offer it to me. It could have been his own want to have no secrets but it could have been the liquid courage. Honestly it’s probably a combination of the two. Regardless the reasons, he poured it out and I accepted what he had to say.

The thing is what he told me I already knew in my gut. After all the bull shit and infidelity on my part there was no way any normal person would put up with my shit. And I don’t blame him. The only thing I felt was relief. Finally I had the knowledge that while my transgressions are terrible I am not alone.

In the morning, in mild sobriety, I told him (whether it needed to be said or not) that I forgave him. It wasn’t for him, because I don’t think he needs or wants it. I did it for myself, plain and simple. From that moment on I wanted to go forth with honesty and integrity. The only way to do that was to leave all the baggage in the past and move forward. I don’t want to hold resentments. (Which is my default, by the way.)

While, I don’t remember all he told me (unfortunate side effect of being thoroughly fucked up on vodka redbulls) I remember some and it was the stuff that my brain and gut had sensed forever. Now knowing, I have the peace I need to move past my worries and fears. It also gave me a glimpse into my husband. And it was nice.

It’s hard being vulnerable. The truth/honesty leaves one at the mercy of the listener. I again wonder what prompted it, or why he felt it was the time to do it then, but I am thankful for that moment. And I will be forever I think.

I just wish I had at least taken notes to remember it all. Some of it lost in the inebriated crevasses of my brain. Maybe I don’t need to be reminded. Most likely the latter.

However this whole situation plays out, at least it won’t be bogged down by lies and secrets.

A Seer Reads the Stones

It’s going to be hard, but doable, not to read into the actions and words during this time. When I’m left with no answers and my mind is searching for some sense of stability or ‘realness’ I begin to look for the answers around me. Like when Charlie sleeps on the complete opposite side of the bed, where he used to hog all of it, is that a subliminal message that he’s trying to get away? Or when the last two days he’s been chatty and we’ve spent the evening holding each other and talking, and then it doesn’t happen is it different? Did something change?

The answers I divine to why are all stupid and probably not true. The further proof of this fact is that these are all my interpretations of perceived realities. For all I know the bed just feels bigger because of how I feel right now. I feel small and insignificant. Thus the spaces in between are vast and seemingly unending.

Then, like last night, charlie was tired and spoke very little and quickly turned around and fell asleep. Not at all like the past two nights. I could see that as he’s getting closer to this other dude or it was just that he’s a 40 year old man who is currently juggling a husband and a boyfriend. I could very well see how that in itself is exhausting and when you’re tired, you’re tired. (Not saying 40 is old.)

The thing about reading our own meaning into anything is that the pendulum can swing either way. It doesn’t matter what the facts are, they can be read in such a way that it is misinterpreted as negative. Case a point, Charlie was reading into my actions as wanting him to end the relationship because I couldn’t do it myself. In reality I was angry at him because I knew about the Derek thing and instead of talking to him or asking him about it I chose to keep it to myself which further drove a rift into our relationship. I was angry. As it also turned out, I was genuinely furious with and blamed him for our dog Klause getting out of the yard back in November. It was these things that made me angry with him and I was very cold to him as a response. It had nothing to do with me wanting to end the relationship, but that’s how he saw it.

Instead of talking to him and voicing these fears I kept them bottled up inside. They festered and made me feel something else entirely. If I had just done the “adult” thing and had a discussion about all of it, none of this may have transpired. My reality may have looked totally different. Yet, even that, right there, is me reading into it.

I want to think that “looking for answers” is a natural human response. It is our way of attempting to take the control back in a situation in which we feel we have none. We don’t like uncertainty and living in a “zen-like” state of letting life wash over us is against our usual factory defaults.

It’s a Brave New World…

…At least that’s what I keep saying to myself, and have been since December when I asked for an open relationship.

My husband doesn’t recall our conversation, in January, when we agreed to close it. I can specifically remember the location and how I felt in the moment in which I snapped and agreed. I then changed all of my stuff on all the apps and went back to that mindset. As it turns out, he was under the assumption we were still open which is when he started talking to this other dude.

We have talked a lot since our initial conversation on Saturday. What I have since learned, was that the reason he spoke to his mother about the state of our relationship and telling her about Derek (his boyfriend) was because he thought it was over between us. He had planned on ending things with me that night because he thought I was waiting for him to pull the trigger. However, when we talked on the car ride home from my parents, after St. Patrick’s Day dinner, his mind changed. What I told him was I wasn’t done. And I’m not. Like I mentioned in my previous post, regarding my midlife crisis, I was on the fence of what to do. I wanted to be single but I also wanted to stay in my relationship because at my core that is what I want. But, I also want to be single. Evenly distributed. (I’m kind of fucked up.)

After our conversation last night I have found further peace with this arrangement, which is basically a polyamorous relationship. I have my boyfriend (I hesitate to use that word for the baggage it brings) and he will have his. At least, for the time being. (It should be noted all four of us have deleted grindr and scruff, further upping the ante.)

A friend of mine, back when we were wrestling with it just being an “open relationship,” told me that we both have to be in agreement, and if one of us isn’t in it, the situation has to end. He is/was right. Which is why I have informed the husband that at the moment he is uncomfortable (and the husband said “I agree”) I will not hesitate to pull the chord on this arrangement. Now, whether he still feels that way in a few weeks, months or years (however long this fucking lasts) may be something else entirely. I just can’t be too concerned with thinking that far ahead. (I can hear the voice of my besty, Shelby, and her subsequent eye-roll, informing me how I’m being stupid.)

I have made peace with the notion that if he ends up ‘head over heels’ with this dude and would rather be with him I will be okay. I mean, of course I will. It will hurt like a mother-fucker, but I will remind myself I set this situation into motion. As he likes to remind me, I chose this. I asked for it when I wanted the open relationship and I chose it (yet again) when we talked the day after the car ride home. He set forth 3 options and I chose the ‘keep things the way they are and stay together but see these side pieces’ plan for only 5.99 a month.

I have no illusions to the contrary that this is absolutely playing with fire. Emotions WILL run high. And someone will be hurt in the end. The gamble is, who is going to be hurt. In the effort of full disclosure I have let my guy, Josh, know everything. I have not hid the fact of what is transpiring. I even want to send him the contact info of my previous ex for further reference to the agony that comes with dating me. I am trouble, plain and simple.

One of the changes I am making, to keep myself sane in this insanity, is to not read into the actions he takes and any assumed underlying message in what my husband says to me. My previous post was me reading into what he said way more than I should have. My therapist said that if we do this there has to be trust and I am just going to trust that he will be honest with me. What he says is what he says. If it turns out that there wasn’t any honesty in his words I imagine I will find out by our relationship ending.

I just find it odd that my husband, who has such anxiety about the future and how things will play out, is okay with this. For once he’s living in the moment and that is some major change. We’re both changing evidently.

The one thought I came to today was that we had previously known of similar situations with other couples in the past and we poo-pooed them and judged. I think we were just belittling them in an effort to tamp down our own desire for something similar. I probably shouldn’t be thinking that because it’s reading into things I shouldn’t. (It’s going to be a hard habit to break.) I just can’t help but look at it the same way I did when I was denying my sexuality. I vehemently hated gay people because I thought if I hated it enough outwardly it would kill that part of myself inside. Well, we see how that worked out.

I probably shouldn’t be airing my dirty laundry, but I have only one story to tell honestly and speak on with certainty and that is my own.

Stay tuned for further episodes of “Gays of Our Lives.”

Conundrum of Age

This week has been something else. I have quite a few things to discuss with my small collection of readers. However it’s all going to have to take it’s time. The most demanding of posts is in regards to a small twitter “feud” that occurred between Armie Hammer and James Woods.

We’re gonna let the name slide for now… but just know, I am not a fan. What I am in favor of is his portrayal of a young 24 year old college professor that falls in love with a 17 year old boy in the film “Call Me by Your Name.” While I have yet to see it, I am aware of what it’s about, and I eagerly await the opportunity to do so for the simple coincidence of the character’s ages.

My husband and I met when I was in the final days of 17 and he was in the twilight months of him being 24. Our meeting was an accident. He had messaged me out of the blue during the AOL instant messenger days, thinking I was someone else who happened to have a similar screenname to mine. (My internet handle was “Melancholyschaos,” good god was I such a hipster emo.) He was dating someone at the time, his first message to me was in fact “Diego and I are still together.” I carried on the conversation like I knew who he was and what he was talking about before I finally just asked him who he was.

For some reason I had a hunch he and this Diego would not last long and every time he appeared in my “buddy list” I would message him. Finally, he ditched his former and I swooped in. We ended up meeting near midnight at a Denny’s, close to where we live now.

My husband hates this story. He also hates the fact that I was 17. It brings him more shame than it should. In the end it was just a number, and I turned 18 only 3 weeks after we first met. He did the legal thing and waited until that magical age to take our relationship any further than just talking.

I understand his discomfort. Yet it’s strange to think that numbers play such a significant part of public perception. In the case of James Woods, I also see how that seems young. If he were a year older somehow that makes it miraculously better and no one would bat an eye. However, that wasn’t the point he was trying to make with his comment. He was equating that to NAMBLA, which is an entirely different organization; one that should be shunned from every corner of the globe. He suggested that this group was “getting their way” and destroying public norms. Mr. Hammer’s response to that was “Didn’t you date a girl that was 19 when you were 60?” Well said, Hammer. Well said. James Wood’s response was to block him on twitter. So, I guess he won that argument.

I hesitated for so many years to divulge our ages at our first meeting. Mainly because of his insecurity, but a small portion of my own. But, seeing as how we’ve been together for so long it’s just part of our history. There’s no reason to be ashamed. I knew what I was getting myself into and what I was pursuing. Most would say, “Well, you were immature.” Yes, but was I? At what point do we just assume someone is an “adult” and stop treating them as if they “don’t know.” Is it when the clock strikes midnight and I roll over to 18?

The best portion of this “ twitter fight” was of a young actress that chimed in with a story that Mr. Woods had invited her and some friends to Las Vegas for a weekend. Her response at the time was that she was 16, to which his reply was “even better.” Since her tweet, he has said that her retelling is an outright lie, but when one looks at his dating history, it would appear that he has a taste for the young ones. So, who is to say? (Oh, he totally did it.)

Again, I don’t understand why age plays such a huge role in a relationship. I mean, it does 100% when it comes to the maturity level and “making it work,” but what I don’t understand is an outsider’s perspective when learning the ages of the couple.

Now, don’t for a second think I am advocating the dating of underage boys or girls. Quite the contrary. I don’t think teenagers are capable of grasping the idea of monogamous relationships. I know that in my early years I was still discovering who I was as a person or what I wanted out of life.

The simple answer to this is that there is no cut and dry response. It is a murky topic that goes into a downward spiral quickly. I guess, it just boils down to intent. What is happening with the relationship and what is being gained.

I will say, if you’re old enough to be that child’s grandparent, you probably shouldn’t be messing around with them. Okay, Woods?