Well, well, well…
It’s a funny thing.
This weekend is the one year anniversary of my diagnosis.
I went into VGH on a Friday afternoon for what they said would be a 45 minute operation and about 3 and a half hours later, the surgeon came out and told Elaine that I had cancer.
I think it’s ironic and kind of cruel that she knew before I did.
I think it’s really cruel that it got left to her to be the one to tell me, but I think that really came down to circumstances rather than malice or negligence.
I remember hearing that I had cancer and thinking, “oh, okay then… what are we going to do about that.” I tried to keep that attitude the whole way along. I think I have been fairly successful with that.
I thought it would be a big emotional event for me to hit the one year mark, but it really wasn’t.
We had a really busy and really social weekend and that felt like a good thing. I was glad we were paying attention to regular life and getting back to being regular people.
It is weird to look back on all the things that have happened in the last year.
All the appointments, all the things I didn’t know a year ago that I know now, all the help I have received along the way, all the aches and pains, all the time to think about things, all the boredom, all the baldness, all the worries about health and money and the future and health and money and everything.
It’s weird because I am in a spot now where I find myself having to think about just how much I am going to let cancer be part of my identity in the future.
I’m back at work, though only for a few hours each day.
I have my hair back.
I am slowly getting my strength back.
I look pretty much like I did a year ago. I have rebounded, on the outside, from the ravages of the chemo.
But it’s a rather profound thing to go through and I need to figure out how to incorporate that experience into my life, and carry on.
I also need to incorporate the whole “who knows what the future holds…” thing in there as well.
It’s weird trying to balance the having been through all that and (seemingly) having come out the other side versus the fact that my health will be under surveillance for the next 7 years and I will be on of the lucky ones if I dodge some sort of recurrence along the way.
And meanwhile, I just want to get back to normal.
You see? It’s all pretty weird and complicated.
Actually, I am willing to postpone going back to normal if I can go back to Kaua’i.
How about that?
I was chatting today with a woman that I like and respect a whole lot.
We haven’t really seen each other since this whole thing happened.
She did the “Oh, you are so brave. I don’t know how you did it.”
Now, let me just say, I am more than happy to be told how brave I am most of the time. I am even willing to have people tell me fibs if it involves some detailed description of my extreme bravery.
But here’s the thing…
If you haven’t been through this, you should listen up.
I appreciate it when people say I am brave, don’t get me wrong.
But I think getting a spider out of the shower stall is more brave than surgery and chemo.
Because when you find a spider in the shower stall, you have a variety of choices, and removing the spider is probably the bravest.
Having surgery, getting a cancer diagnosis and doing chemo… well, that situation doesn’t come with very many choices and none of them are good.
So you go with the least awful of the two.
That doesn’t seem so brave to me.
I think people doing chemo often demonstrate bravery in the process of doing chemo, but I think making the choice to try to stay alive is pretty basic, really.
I think this labyrith of ideas and viewpoints in my head will be untangled in a big, ongoing process.
And maybe it will never get all the way untangled.
I am nowhere near the end of trying to figure it out, and I am still trying to mix in with the regular herd and get on with things.
It’s all a lot to think about.
And now that I am not laying on my ass 24 hours a day, there is an awful lot to do.
What a long, strange trip it’s been.
Still, I am happy to be here.
And still thinking.
This may not make a stitch of sense to anyone but me.
Actually, it may not make any sense to me either.
How about that?
Happy Mother’s Day.