I'm speechless. Almost...
Remember this anxious person?
I can't believe I'm now on the other side of all this.Today I finished the last of the three big hurdles:
Surgery. Chemo. Radiation.
To celebrate, I hoped to post a video clip of Will Ferrell in the beginning of Kicking and Screaming. He's got big hair circa 1970 and wears a thick sweatband and short shorts. He's jumping over these hurdles and he's knocking every one of them down, but he charges on, however awkward and idiotic he looks, which I thought was a good metaphor for my experience.
But since I couldn't find that clip, I'm posting this other gripping excerpt from the same movie. (It reminds me of my husband on a bad day in Starbucks ).
So what now? I'm told that people tend to have a hard time after treatment...that the feeling is like walking off the side of a cliff and free falling. A friend who'd had that experience sent me the book After Breast Cancer by Hester Hill Schnipper (fun name to say five times fast). Looks good, but haven't read it yet because I'm not totally done. I still have a mini-hurdle called Herceptin to finish. Herceptin isn't a bad deal, however. Herceptin has no side effects. Herceptin is like a heat seeking missile targeting those bad ass HER2 positive cancer cells (thanks to my 7 year old for helping me think of my treatments in weaponry and video game terms).
Herceptin is also a major breakthrough, and hopefully works well. Herceptin means I remain safe in the womb a little bit longer, going to Oncology every three weeks, which to be honest, is kind of nice. Particularly if my treatments are on Thursdays, when Lauren* the massage therapist is there to rub my feet. Last time I also met Ginger*, a 60-something-looking volunteer manning the beverage cart. She struck up a conversation with me, asking me about my family, my cancer, my work. I told her I was a writer and she seemed genuinely interested. She asked me what I'd written, if and where I'd been published, and I wasn't hating talking about any of this, ya know what I mean writer friends? I told her I had nine more radiation treatments to go, but I'd be back here, to Oncology, for a good few months. She said, "Well, I'll be here. I'm 83..." (this is where I cut her off, saying, "No way Ginger! You look 20 years younger!") and I have all sorts of aches and pains, but I'm healthy. I come here to volunteer, but also to keep things in perspective."
Yeah, me too.
*Names are made up not to protect the innocent but because I'm still working on my name remembering skills...she did look like Ginger from Gilligan's Island, however
This morning, when my nurse handed me my radiation discharge papers, she offered me the same survivor poem that she gave me the day of the breakdown/breakthrough. I reminded her that I already had one
"Maybe you want another for your car?" She asked.
"One's good," I said.
With or without a poem, I know things are different now. But I fear anything I write right now
about how I've changed and what I've learned thus far will make me sound like a cliche. Like the skin around my right breast, everything is still so raw (ick. sorry.). And as any writer worth her own salt knows, best not to poke around in there too much when the experience is still so very fresh.
But one thing I will say is this: I'm high on life today. I love everybody and everything. The squirrels in my backyard: I love you guys! The slow drivers on route 3: I love you too! My family and friends and old ladies on the street, and the color of the leaves, and the lady who sold me my muffin this morning (although she was kind of gloomy but I love her anyway). I love the radiator in my living room, the person who invented hydrocortisone cream, and my shoes.
I'm so very joyful that someone really needs to smack me.