How We Handle Pain

1.

Ray told the doctors and Lily flat-out, fucking honest: “I won’t have that surgery.” Stage 4 rectal cancer. It was loose in his blood, looking for new places to touch down. But Ray heard all the rearranging of his body the doctor planned: prostate, bladder, rectum, and part of the large intestine. Removed.

“How will I go to the bathroom?” Ray asked.

“You’ll be outfitted with a colostomy bag.”

On the car ride home Lily tried to talk him into it.

“This is the treatment, Ray. You can live this way.”

“Carrying around a bag of my own piss.”

“There are worse things.”

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