5 years post cancer treatment.
5 years post cancer treatment 2 days ago on November 18th 2020. 5 years, maybe 5 lifetimes, it seems. What I thought my was going to kill me, saved me, awakened me and gifted me life, again.
The last treatment was vincristine. A chemotherapy that made my fingers and toes go numb. It was actually the most kind of the 4 chemo’s. Numb phalanges were a walk in the park compared to debilitating diarrhea and interns staring down at you asking you to take a nauseas survey. Do I look nauseas? I’m yellow, and I can barely open one eye? A 6 question survey? 2 pages?…I just circled a 10, on a scale of 1-10 and handed it back.
I’m dying, screw nauseas.
Was that experience even real? The cancer, the torture.. I mean treatments? Maybe that’s a defense, a detachment. The dark humor, you know? You have to find ways to cope with suffering, or the suffering might kill you.. not really. But I suppose the heart break from it could.
The last 5 years have been tough and equally beautiful. 5 years was a long haul for deep healing, but I tried to have fun doing it. And in the fun department, I give myself an A++. Another coping skill. Fun, or F-ing off, maybe.
Not all fun and games, I’ve worked extremely hard to get here, alive, thriving and as healthy as I can be considering.
Every year I learned something, shit! Every day I learn so much post cancer. It’s like looking through a clearer lens, constantly rubbing my eyes after a long pointless dream, life is in technicolor and feelings too! both the sorrow and joys of this world more transparent and, just.., “Wow, ouch, damn, ok, breathe.. keep going.”
5 years cancer free from stage 4 cancer. How did that even happen or is possible? God knows, not me! I’m just down here floundering about and trying to figure it out. Maybe there is nothing to figure out, maybe the gift of it all is meant to be lived and loved.
What I know today, is that I don’t know nothing. That might be a Pennywise song lyric? Regardless, it’s true. The magic and miracle of not knowing blessed me with faith and trust. Each day is a wild adventure, even on the mundane ones.
Layers of myself is still shedding. Each day I have to remind myself, “Don’t get too attached to her! You know she’s going to be a different, changed in the next breath and the one after that”…the unraveling of the self is both certain and uncertain.
The un-spooling, death, transformation is messy and straight up awkward. The release, who I thought I was, or am.. is not her, or anything really.
I have been given another day. Healthy, alive with no evidence of disease in my body. Most of the time it feels like such a ginormous gift, I don’t know what to do with it all. God has given me so much. In ways I couldn’t possibly repay.
Even on the days that I am exhausted or unsure of myself or where all this is taking me, I give thanks and reminded that life is a series of peaks and valleys, keep walking and moving forward. When I slow down, I realize all this is happening so very fast.
Slow down, breathe it in. The hard stuff too.
I don’t want to hold on, or I’ll miss the next moment. Looking back at my life, it’s a simultaneous streak of oneness embodied in a single memory.
The future, all I see is distance along a golden hour lit shoreline. I feel peace and hope looking forward in this vision, throughout the sunset of my life.
Each day I wake up, look about and smile at the life God and I have co-created together. I am grateful.