It’s been a month since I’ve posted, for those of you keeping up. Since then, I’ve been collecting my thoughts and find myself with a lot to say. Since then, I had major surgery and one round of chemo. Since then, I have not been able to view my life without the cancer lens. All thoughts first are filtered through the cancer lens which is red in my imagination. Shocking, unmistakable, indelible. Like should I make long-term plans? Am I going to die? What do I actually believe happens after we die? Should I be soaking in every breeze on a warm day? Should I subject my body to more chemo? How does one “live with cancer”? I don’t think I know the answer to that yet, to any of these.
Cause, y’all, it’s awful. Not as awful or soul-wrenching as you see in movies. Well, not yet at least. Chemo is cumulative so it will make me much weaker, ralph more, eat less, and have that perma-metallic taste in my mouth. Oh and the mouth sores. And the hair falling out on my pillow, the couch, in the shower, in moments I do not want to be reminded of my illness. I can’t tell if it’s more taxing on my body or my spirit. Eight more months of chemo. One more major surgery, just like the one I had in April. How does one continue on knowing that’s the prognosis? So far, I just kind of do. I’m not back to work yet. I’ve been passing the time with puzzles that frustrate me, serial killer documentaries that I probably should not be watching before bed time, and ignoring a lot of things. Ignoring the constant nausea. Ignoring the multitude of vitamins that are healing but also one of the hardest parts of my day: swallowing thousands of IUs or whatever they’re called a day. Three times a day. Ignoring the growing pile of thank you cards that I have yet to send. Oh, lord, don’t even get me started on the vegan, no sugar diet which I was prescribed.
I hate to complain, friends. I have so much light and hope that my support system keeps instilling in me when it has left my eyes and spirit. My first round of chemo was not as bad as I’ve seen with family members, loved ones, friends, etc. I have a surgeon and a treatment team that I trust implicitly with my life and my future. I’m learning to plan around my chemo symptoms. I’m learning that if I don’t drink three liters of water a day, I’m going to feel like absolute shit the next day. I’m learning that there is so much goodness and grace in this world and in people. But everything I’m learning is soaked in the red cancer filter. Will I learn to remove that lens with time?
Here’s to learning to live with cancer and all the other maladies and trauma humans live with every day. Aren’t humans wonderfully resilient? I hope to be as resilient as I know humankind can be.
Thanks for letting me share my stream of consciousness.