Saturday, June 29, 2013

balancing boats, carefree summers

an email from a friend inspired me to write a blog post.  an email from a friend about friendships.  friendships, relationships, friends, relations, well, that's the stuff that really keeps the boat from tipping into waters just darkened by the reality or the perception of cancer.  of course there are other things too (my bike, good food, 30 rock), but people-- thank you!

this second round, like the first, has been fairly gentle on me (maybe gentler overall than round one).  day one (chemo day) was by far the worst day.  worse than day one from round one, but i woke up the next morning feeling fairly fine and have felt fairly fine ever since.  not perfect, not normal in terms of energy, but fine.  i spent much of tuesday on the couch... tired's peak... but everyday i've been outside on my bike. thank you bike.  

emotionally, mentally, i'm doing well, except when i get an ache in my toe and convince myself this cancer has metastasized there (it's possible, you know), or the achy knee... was it just biking with the inflexible 'skinny jeans' i picked up for free at the co-housing place with the free clothing room?  yes it was. phew.

but maybe if you've ever had a baby... a challenging baby-- one who didn't sleep like all the books told you he'd sleep, then maybe you were like me in thinking, "it will never end.  life will never be normal again.  i will always be this tired.  i will never spend a normal day outside, enjoying life the way i see people enjoying life.  it will always be me, trying to find a way to soothe this little tiny disgruntled baby."

it is, in a way, how i feel with cancer.  that i've stepped off the track of normal society where people have carefree summers and have time to think about how best to raise their children or what advice they'd give to their twenty year old selves and well.. none of that is quite real is it?  that's just huffpost parents and blogs and facebook telling me that's what my life would be like if i didn't have cancer.  still... i feel a disconnect... with my past life... with my hypothetical non-cancer life... and i think sometimes, it will always be like this.  me, trying to find a way to stop this huge, horrible, disgruntled disease.  i will never have a carefree summer (as much as anyone can have one) ever again.  i will never be able to take back all the stupid cartoons we've let these boys indulge in since we first feared the worst and so therefore i will never be able to raise my children exactly as i want to.  and i don't know what i could have told my twenty year old self to make it so that i never got cancer in the first place, but what does it matter anyway, because i can never again not have cancer, even if, in the best case scenario, this disease takes up one year of my life and no more.  i can never take it back, and so, i think, it will always be a part of me.  i can never have lived a perfectly healthy life now.  and i can never not worry that this cancer will come back, assuming it goes away in the first place.

well... my short-sightedness... my perspective from the thick of trying to soothe a disgruntled little one or from trying to kill every one of the millions of wayward cells in my body.  i know logically, and from knowing others who have been through this and come out the other side and enjoyed carefree summers and raised their kids right, that i am seeing things from way too close up now to have any real perspective on it.

i know this.  and i'm grateful for knowing this.  because it's in knowing this and also in friendships and relationships (and my bike and good food and 30 rock) that the boat stays balanced.  that i can say, in all honesty, emotionally, mentally, i'm doing well (except when i get that ache in my toe).


nina said...

What would have been had this thing not happened to me... I understand. Let me write you an email about it.

In the meantime, know this -- time makes mincemeat of all fears. Ten years from now, you will only think about cancer on your annual visits for a checkup.

Phyllis Noble said...

Too close to have any "real perspective on it?" Not at all. You are giving us your perspective from the very center of it, from deep inside it. Thank you.

Suna said...

why not write a book Regan - a collection of essays? You really have something to give