February 19, 2016, as far as I’m concerned you will always be one of my best days. You will be a lucky number, an auspicious date, and a moment that might forever bring a feeling of relief so immense that I seek you in times of stress. I’ve survived the most punishing treatments of my chemo, and I don’t know how to explain the solace in knowing it won’t get worse. Most of the side effects are easily chronicled, and at their peak have been seriously annoying albeit manageable, but my difficulty comes in describing the one side effect that can’t be managed, the intense feeling of fatigue that isn’t just fatigue. Perhaps its what getting slowly and methodically poisoned feels like, coupled with a grim sensation of defeat constantly lurking in the shadows. To know I’ve received that last dose, and slogged through… I feel free, for now. Spring is definitely coming early this year.
This final chemo beat down was bad, as the doctors said it would be, and exponentially more crippling than the ones prior. As much relief as I felt during the final disconnect, I also spent the following week feeling relentlessly clobbered, completely foggy, and 100% spent. This past weekend I had the great pleasure of catching up with a friend who was treated for ovarian cancer as a child, and she pointed out the most obvious fact: I’ve been in survival mode for months. Fight or flight. I haven’t been fighting for my life, I’ve been fighting for my spirit and success with these treatments, and now I’m exhausted. I was terrified of slowing down and not being able to start back up, so I ran, and once I rang that bell and walked out of the infusion room, I was able to stop. It’s like going on vacation and immediately getting ill, my body and spirit finally have the luxury of letting it all go, and come to find out, I’m fried.
I have the distinct impression that in the coming months I will actually start to process the last year, and for all the wisdom I’ve gained, the phenomenal blogger, Dread Pirate Khan, speaks for me when she writes, “fuck this mountain, I never wanted to climb it in the first place.” No one wants to climb this mountain, but the universe doesn’t care about what I, or anyone else for that matter, wants, this stuff just happens, and hopefully you land on your feet. Please read her profoundly insightful and spirited post on what it’s like to have cancer, because she pretty much nails it. http://dreadpiratekhan.tumblr.com/post/117758401541/whats-it-like-to-go-through-cancer-treatment. As much as I’m epically thrilled to have finished, and I am EPICALLY thrilled, I’m pulverized, and it’s going to take some time to come back.
However, in the meantime I want to thank these beautiful, loving, supportive faces for the best disconnect ever:
So, that’s over, and I am immensely grateful for all the love and support I’ve received, and now I can rest for awhile. As for the reckoning I sense on the horizon, I’ll let the ever quotable Tupac Shakur speak to that:
“You can spend minutes, hours, days, weeks, or even months over-analyzing a situation; trying to put the pieces together, justifying what could’ve, would’ve happened… or you can just leave the pieces on the floor and move the fuck on.”
Boom. Well stated, Mr. Shakur. I’m not broken, I’m transformed, for better or worse only time will tell, and I plan on moving the fuck on.