Life moves pretty fast

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.

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7 thoughts on “Life moves pretty fast

  1. Steph – I have been following your blog for a while now. You write so well & are able to put into words a lot of things that I felt. This post struck a chord. I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 38, with a newborn and a one year old. I am now approaching 50! While most of my friends “dread” another birthday, I celebrate each one. My kids recently asked me about a mid-life crisis. I tried to explain that I will not be having one, because I had cancer. That caused me to evaluate my priorities, goals, make some changes, and I am living the life today that I dreamed of.No need for a crisis. No regrets. No “I wish I had…”. Every day is to be enjoyed. Also in response to Rebecca’s comment, I feel that anything additional that cropped up would be caught very early. I am checked so frequently, and so thoroughly. Sometimes it is a little disconcerting, but comforting at the same time. I once mentioned to a doctor that I was having some headaches, and before I new it, I was on a machine being scanned. I joke that I could get a hangnail, and I would be hooked up to some machine to make sure it wasn’t anything serious. Good luck with the radiation. Chemo was a disaster for me, but radiation was just a nuisance, to my schedule more than anything else. I often wonder if it is the treatments that make us tired, or just the schedule of appointments that we are required to keep.

  2. This post rings so true for me Stephanie-you so eloquently put to words how I have felt since my own diagnosis. I also long for the days of “innocence”. Even though I am in a place where I will *probably* be fine I still am so fundamentally changed from the experience. Its always there hanging over my head. I sometimes just want to shout it out to all the still innocent people out there that you really don’t know how good you have it and that so much of life’s everyday problems will pale in comparison if you ever should cross over so just enjoy what you have. Good health is a gift not to be taken for granted.
    “Suffocated with fear” is a great way to put what it sometimes feels like. I definitely felt like this and still do sometimes. I also felt strangely claustrophobic by it all. I just wanted get the heck out of my diagnosis and not being able to made my feel closed in or tied up-with no way out.

    Hoping that you are feeling better soon.

  3. Steph

    Uncle arch & I are so very proud of you. You and your family are always in our thoughts and prayers. Keep up the good work sweetheart, you are amazing! Great thunder story! I did not know my brother was such a good bowler. Hope you got at least one cake.

    All our love. Xoxoxo.

    Sent from my iPad

  4. Awe, I love it!! I’d get you a cake, but I’m in North Carolina! I love your posts and wish you well as you progress down this long road. May God bless you, and keep posting! You write so exquisitely and so poignantly!

  5. Hey Steph:) I completely understand your idea of fear hanging over you. I’ve been battling with it myself. Something someone told me actually helped, that to look at it this way; because of our diagnosis we will now be much more vigilant with our health and seeing drs frequently therefore anything from here on out, whether it be cancer or anything else, will likely be caught early and save our lives. For me that true because before this I rarely went to the dr and now I will be all the time, nothing will be overlooked. I hope for you and myself the fear subsides with time and is replaced with hope and happiness. We are young and have long lives ahead of us!

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