Haven’t updated in awhile, but don’t worry, I’m still here. I’ve just been trying to live my life a bit. I haven’t really been able to enjoy any “recovery” period, because I’ve been sick or struggling with side effects every time there was any sort of break between treatments. So having this time off before starting radiation has been a pretty nice change of pace. Never underestimate the body’s need to heal after being physically and psychologically tormented for months on end.
I’ve been saddled with a cold the past few days. It’s a bit of an annoyance to be “regular sick” during a break from being “cancer sick”, but that’s all it is. An annoyance. Once you’ve dealt with the Big C, a cold ain’t no thang. I would take a cold over cancer any day. Although, I’d also take neither, if I had the choice. But maybe that’s being too greedy.
The weather outside is strange today. One minute it is raining cats and dogs, then bright and sunny and cheerful, then grey and cloudy and windy, as it appears to be right now outside my window. It’s a bit unpredictable, which is precisely how my mood and general outlook on life is these days.
One minute, I am happy, full of energy, enjoying the health I seem to be regaining. The next, I’m exhausted, feeling betrayed by my body and resentful that it can’t do all the things it once could, with ease.
And at another moment, I am hopeful, thinking of the future, entertaining the notion that I could actually live a full life, filled with fun and laughter, with cancer being nothing more than a distant memory, a bizarre detour that I will never take again. And then I read of someone with my disease who didn’t make it, or I get a test result that plagues me with anxiety, and I feel suffocated with fear. Burdened by the reality that despite everything I am doing, you never know if it was enough, unless you learn that it was not. Scared of never getting old, of not being here, of the world going on without me. Bitter that I even have to think about these things. That they are a real possibility. And that as hard as I try to control it all, it is out of my hands.
I’m sure anyone with a cancer diagnosis can tell you that it is all incredibly confusing. You want to live your life the way you did before. You want to be normal. Like everyone else, you want to feel like you have all the time in the world. Yet there is this cloud that looms over you. The knowledge that, at any moment, you may be told your life expectancy has shrunk quite substantially. That you’ve run out of time. These are big thoughts for a young person to have to grapple with.
I am so envious of those who still maintain their innocence. Who take it for granted that there is still a long and winding road ahead of them. Who believe that nothing bad will ever happen to them. I think it’s a beautiful thing, to feel protected and safe like that. Ignorance truly is bliss, in many cases. I’m sure I felt that way at some point, the feeling that nothing could touch me. I think we all want to feel that way. It’s what gets us through. Unfortunately, that innocence is long gone for me. I see the world through different eyes now. Nothing looks the same, and I, most definitely, am not the same.
But maybe that’s not all bad. Maybe there is something to gain from a new perspective and from being smacked in the face with the harsh reality that none of us is invincible. That life is short, no matter how you slice it. We are all just floating around, trying to do the best we can, and having no clue as to how or when it all might end. We’re all trying to make sense out of life, attempting to find answers to the Big Questions. I just hope I still have a lot of time left to figure it all out. Because I’m certainly not done yet.
Today is National Cancer Survivors Day. They say you are a survivor from the moment you receive a cancer diagnosis. So I guess I’ve been surviving for a bit now. Happy day to me.
Someone better get me a cake.