You can learn in any number of ways. But one of the most intense ways to learn and grow is to (either purposely or involuntarily) dive into the depths. The physical and psychological places where fear originates and persists.
Today is a scan. I’m nervous. A little nervous. Not like crazy nervous. But, unexpected bad news today would be really upsetting. And good news, while very much hoped for, isn’t a guarantee about anything except right now. Grappling with the idea that I may never feel totally free of cancer is hard and sad and weird. But there is something special about the pronounced feeling of uncertainty. Basically, I just have to live my life, trust God and enjoy each wonderful moment.
I go to California once or twice a year for work. While I always miss Cass and Kevin, I do enjoy the change of pace, visiting with the team at our vendor’s headquarters and getting to see some Midwest/east coast ex pats turned SoCal friends.
Well, I don’t. But one thing I’ve gotten good at is figuring out how to do stuff I don’t know how to do. And it usually starts with asking people who have done it or are doing it in a way I can relate to. So I’m reaching out to those inspiring people who have or are beating cancer and are living large – and by living large, I mean going about their business, working, taking care of families, accomplishing great things like finishing advanced degrees, having babies, planning vacations or emptying the dishwasher, being positive and thankful.
Had a great conversation with another cancer destroyer. She’s pretty badass – having done his twice now and she’s younger than me. It was so encouraging and healing. There is a sense of deep comradery between two people who have fought the same battle. And things can be said freely in such company that are quite simply taboo elsewhere.
When I started this blog, my first entry was titled The New Normal
I felt it was necessary to acknowledge and even declare that we were in a new situation – that life as we knew it was a thing of the past and we were in a brand new chapter. Well, here we are again. While I won’t feel comfortable saying I’m “in remission” until my scan in a couple weeks, let’s just assume that I am and that is the new state of affairs. No longer a cancer patient, no longer a cancer warrior actively fighting cancer – but rather a cancer SURVIVOR.
In some ways, this new era is trickier than the previous one. On one hand, you want to shout from the rooftops ” I BEAT CANCER!” and “GOD HEALED ME!” and “YOUR PRAYERS WORKED!” and “MODERN MEDICINE IS A MIRACLE!” and “MY DOCTORS ROCK!” And on the other, you want to whisper “but it might come back.” When you’re battling cancer, you’re a street fighter – you’ve got your enemy right in front of you where you can punch it square in the face – you KNOW what the problem is and where it is. You can see it. It’s big and bad and ugly and it scares you, but you have a target to hit. In remission, you are tempted to see yourself moreso as walking through the streets at night with a hoodie pulled down over your face, ducking your head and nervously glancing over your shoulder, flinching at every skittering leaf and alley cat.
I don’t want to be that. So I’m not going to. And this blog is now going to be the story of how I figure out how. How do I parent and work and be a wife and a friend and daughter and mentor and mentee and human SURVIVOR that is vigilant and responsible about my ongoing health, without living each day terrified of it coming back? I’m not sure yet. But I have some ideas – and I’m taking this bull by the horns and wrestling with it. Sorry for the mixed metaphors – but that’s how it is in my head for now. Mixed.
Tomorrow is my last day of chemo pills. Wooooo!!!!
I have three days (six doses) of chemo pills left. For some reason this last week has seemed very long. I think I felt like being done with IV chemo meant I would be quickly feeling back to normal. But I’m still taking chemo. And I have had a few (wonderful) out of town guests. Which has made me choose to stay up too late. Like basically every night for the past week. I need to take better care of myself this week if I have a prayer of running this crazy 5k in a month. It feels kind of impossible. But that’s kind of why I decided to do it. 🙂
I had such a great week, though. Catching up with some very significant people in my life. I’m so happy and grateful to have gotten to spend the time with them. Old friends are often the best friends. Plus I got to act like a tourist in Pittsburgh.