The Long Loneliness

“We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.” ~ Dorothy Day, The Long Loneliness: The Autobiography of the Legendary Catholic Social Activist [a wonderful read, by the way]

This phrase, “the long loneliness,” has been recurring in my thoughts and mood for the last day now. I remember reading Dorothy Day’s book several years ago and loving it, as well as resonating with the sense of desolation and loneliness that plagues the human condition. Rafael Ubico, reviewing the book for the Northern Colorado Faith Library writes:

“The title, ‘long loneliness,’ is a recurring theme throughout the book. Dorothy Day viewed loneliness as an inescapable part of the human condition. Looking back on her own life, she could see periods affected by intense loneliness. For her, community provided the answer–not just the community of the basic family unit, but a wider community of individuals and families sharing their resources and property.”

Today I had the biopsy on my thyroid. Two nodes, one on the left and one in the middle (the isthmus). The doctor overseeing treatment for the parotid gland cancer tumor saw these on the PET scan from last week and wanted them biopsied before moving forward with removing the tumor.


In the last week I’ve had a PET scan, 6 back injections (done twice – so 12 – all diagnostic to see if burning the nerves in my back will help with pain), an ultrasound and a biopsy. The week before – pre-op blood work, x-rays and EKG. Week before that, biopsy and another invasive procedure for other problems.

I’m tired of diagnostics!!! Can we move forward and get something treated already? AND, I want the surgery to get the cancer out of me pronto! Nothing like imagining malignant cells having mitosis multiplying parties! I know it’s a very rare and slow-growing cancer, but still!

Meanwhile, I’ve faced all of these procedures physically alone. We need wages, so  D can’t be with me. Everyone else I know around here (admittedly only a few) work, or I wouldn’t want them to spend hours at the hospital in a waiting room, since they can’t come with me into procedure rooms. The medical staff has been amazingly attentive, caring and everything you would want them to be. But they are only there in the moment. They are not in the dressing rooms or in the PET tube or in the waiting rooms.

I know I am surrounded by my FB, Twitter, Blog and blood-family. All long-distance. It’s real community, and I know it.

But in these days, it’s just a long loneliness of facing all this diagnostic work, of counting and realizing the things that are malfunctioning in the body I experience life within. So, if Dorothy Day is right, then I need a big dose of love. Love and community.

I wish I could experience those. I think it’s the meds or the mood, but I’m not experiencing love and community the ways I used. I used to have that warm, fuzzy feeling of belonging somewhere. Or gratitude that oozed out. Sometimes I glimpse something like these, but very cerebrally. Not a sense of being connected to the people I know are out there. If I’m with someone, I sort of get that feeling a bit better.

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