This is the first day of my brand new life. I woke up today without the crushing sense of dread that comes with waiting to die, even though I was just waiting to find out if I was going to die. I woke up this morning feeling free, which is not as awesome as it may sound. Everything that I had to expand energy on has been removed and now I have no idea what I’m going to do.People keep asking me what I’m going to do now that I’m not going to die soon, and I have no idea why they keep asking me this. I guess it’s because they expect me to have this new rent on life, a gratitude that I get this second chance, but now I just feel almost empty. I guess I’m still in shock. I was so convinced that I was going to die soon that even sitting in the exam room waiting for my oncologist I already was working out a blog post saying goodbye to everyone – because I’m dramatic like that. The minute she said I was more or less okay, my brain went foggy.
The small spot on my liver had shrunk, so it is cancer, but it is being treated by the chemo, so the fear that it is an entirely new kind of cancer that is fatal is no longer a concern. Everything else looks good. My life went to crisis to everything is alright in one sentence.
I used a lot of energy being strong for myself and other people. I had to white knuckle through so I wouldn’t break down and give up on life. I had to expound strength staying positive around friends, family and coworkers. I had to give up the fact that strangers being selfish self-absorbed wankers didn’t know that I had all this on my mind and not react like I had nothing to lose to teach them a lesson. Sometimes I couldn’t. Sometimes I just couldn’t pretend that everything was okay and that the idea that I could be facing a very shortened life didn’t just destroy my spirit.
Now I have this third chance at life. I feel like I need to find all that energy I wasted on being okay and making through this like an adult to get the strength to feel that third chance. I want to have that attitude of being on borrowed time, but I just feel tired. I have never felt more tired in my life. It’s also not over. My last oncology appointment is in the month I turn 40, the two year anniversary of being diagnosed.
September 2nd will be one year of not smoking minus one cigar. A lot of these last few months have been really hard, but the other day a bunch of us were at a restaurant and I was listening to this guy who was really unsure of himself try and tell a story about himself when half the table just got up and went outside to smoke. They didn’t care that this guy was trying to be real or honest so that we would all be his friend because they all decided as a herd of cattle to smoke. Then the stragglers who had to bum cigarettes got up and sprinted after the herd. Five of us sat there while the guy forgot what he had to say. I am grateful I’m not a slave to that kind of addiction anymore. I can enjoy my after dinner coffee without needing to get the fuck outside to smoke something that kills my sense of smell and taste. It’s just hard that I can’t escape.
I still feel the fatigue and effects from chemo. After a few days of work, I’m beat. I still can’t concentrate on what I’m reading or conversations. I feel like I never get enough rest even after getting a lot of rest. I sweat a lot.
I can’t wait for fall. I’m tired of the hot sun beating down. I get sad seeing all the rivers, creeks and lakes so low. I’m sad that people that moved here loving the weather. The Farmers’ Almanac say we’re headed for a terrible winter, and I couldn’t be happier. I want to watch the rain stream down and wash all of this away. I want my home to feel like home again.
This is all I know, I have no more excuses to put things off, or be scared of being seen a certain way, or having to do something because it’s what others want, but to do what I want because it’s the right thing to do. Soon I’ll be out of this fog and I will be ready to understand what I need to do since I’m still here.