When I was diagnosed last June, a mountain stood before me.
Or that’s what I thought. What I didn’t realize is that, I was looking at the first mountain in a range. Just getting through the diagnostic process was a foothill. Then there was the chemo mountain. And then the surgery and…you get the point.
Right now, I’m in between the surgery and radiation mountain. A lot of heavy and sad things have happened in this “valley.” A lot of loss, suffering, unknowns, and sadness are all around me, in my community of friends. Tonight, my daughter asked, “When are we gonna be done with cancer?” And in my head, I’m thinking, “I hope cancer doesn’t swallow me whole and finish me off.” Instead, I answered, “I’m hoping by my birthday in March.”
My brain is always on spin cycle with about five different thoughts. I’m constantly wondering if there will be any lift? Will life ever go back to light-hearted living? Or is that done now? Sure, we have many reasons to smile and we still crack jokes, but life is thick with sorrows all around us.
Will I die before I’m ready? The more I get through unpleasant treatments, the more I feel like I’ve earned years. I have to remind myself of all the precious and good that comes from a struggle with breast cancer. So much grace and beauty has happened these last seven months. I don’t want to let myself forget. A year battling breast cancer–whether you live or die–can be the best year of your life. Can be…
In any case, these questions are not the mountain I need to climb today or this week. Always, I want to get ahead, but always, I need to stay in the moment.
So, turning my attention to practical matters, this week I have my radiation simulation. I don’t know exactly what this entails, but I think I get a few tattoos (no joke). The plan is to get me and the radiation machine all ready to do some radiation starting next week. Hopefully, I’ll have the words to explain what happened. I write to let you in on what you hopefully never have to face. And I write for comrades on the same path. Whoever is reading, I find these things to be such curious adventures. Even if I never was much for climbing mountains.