Thursday, June 13, 2013

Dancing With Fear: A Day in My Life Without a Left Pelvic Bone

I walk like a penguin, I think, chuckling at my short stride. The pain in my hip is significant when I shift weight to my left leg. The pain ascends rapidly the further I step forward, so I shuffle. This sensation is not deep inside like the lightning strikes I felt when my tumor was growing long ago, but instead it shoots out towards my abductors.

I envision my pain as an iron plate, compacted by the burden of cancer, consuming the space formerly occupied by cancerous bone. This plate does not respect my orthopedic oncology surgeon's handiwork -- muscle stapled and taped to other muscle -- and is waiting to explode downward, like it is playing Don't Break the Ice against my soft tissue.

I think back on recent events to uncover the pain's cause...

Days ago I danced at a wedding. Historically I had been the loner watching the dance floor from afar, but this time I visited YouTube, where a smooth Asian gentleman taught me basic moves.

Mary was so wildly attractive that it slipped my mind to baby my left hip. How could that happen considering that my subconscious has always protected my hip even when intoxicated by alcohol, Benadryl or prescription narcotics?

Mary and I hopped around to Kool and the Gang. When the DJ switched to oldies, I wrapped my right arm around her lean waist and swung my hips, looking through her brown-rimmed glasses that matched her hair, wondering how she looked without her spectacles and other apparel. Her glistening red lips sang all the words, and then teased me for not knowing any.

I wish that smooth Asian gentleman was in my ear. I know he would suggest I take Mary to the bar between dancing. At the end of the night, he'd tell me to charm her into coming to my hotel instead of letting her vacillate. She was waiting for my persuasion, but I am incapable of acting in a way that feels un-gentlemanly.

I don't remember feeling pain the next morning when I slid off my bed and went down to the gym, where I contemplated measures to prevent another Mary from sliding away. Did my hip hurt the day after that? Yes, definitely, because I considered going on crutches, but I was with my family and didn't want them to know. Instead, I penguin-walked when no one was looking and masked the pain when they were around.

I crutched for the next three days. Simple movements caused explosions in my hip, so I kept my left leg limp. It is now the third night and I am lying in bed. When I wake up tomorrow I will take my first step on my left leg to test it. Keep reading, here