Tuesday, August 09, 2011

3-2-1 Blast Off

One more to go!

Tomorrow is my last radiation treatment.

It's disconcerting.

It feels as if the last ten months have taken place on a battlefield. I won't escape for another month or so — my body must acclimate to Tamoxifen and recover from radiation — but I'm beginning to stumble away from the scene of so much suffering and hardship. Though my knees aren't shaking as I imagine they would in that scenario, emotionally there is an equivalent response. I feel vulnerable. I feel relief. I feel exhausted. A long, terrible nightmare is almost over and yet it will never truly end. I will not escape the possibility that I might have to revisit this war zone, that next time I might not escape with my life.

Lately I want treats, treats, and more treats. Almond molasses cookies seemed a good place to start.

Everything I struggled with before, the mundane and every-day challenges of my life pre-cancer, wait in the wings. Angst with work, questions about my contribution in the world, the quality and depth of my relationships, my concerns for the environment, for the oppressed and victimized among us, my desire to make a difference, my perpetual sense of overwhelm that I am not enough, not doing enough, not quickly enough, not thoughtfully enough, not worthy of all the blessings in my life - all that typical stuff we all, let's face it, carry around with us every day. Yours might not sound like mine. The wording and the messages are individualized, but I'd wager we all get to that same place on a regular basis - feeling bad about ourselves.

I'd like to refuse to go there anymore. I'd like to think cancer wiped the slate clean. That I can rewrite my life story from here on out, fearlessly. Unerringly.

View near my house.

But I don't think it's going to work out like that. It'll be be life as usual, with all its unglamorous ups and downs. Occasionally, there will be roll-on-the-floor laughter, heart-swelling tear-jerking milestones of growth and love, and precious moments of transcendental beauty and peace. In between, I'll feel too fat, too slow, too selfish. I'll get bored, frustrated, angry, and sad.

It will be this way for as long as it lasts. Which I hope will be a very long time.

Yesterday's garden harvest.


Lisa said...

I look forward to continuing to read your rewriting of "your life story from here on out, fearlessly. Unerringly."

SN said...

Her's how I plan to do mine Amy (end of radiation and cancer warzone thingy): wake up in the morning, say a prayer and smile. Because the REST of my life is right before me :)

Just felt like sharing this with you :)

Anonymous said...

Amy, you have been through a battlefield and you have generously and beautifully shared pieces of this journey openly. Life as usual will be new, I think. Once you walk through that Mortality Door where you can see and taste how precious and fleeting life is, you remain forever changed. It is everyone's worst nightmare. And it is a gift too.

It is clear from the videos that radiation, while no walk in the park, is something that did not take you down. You seem happier with each posting. I remember you had said late summer was your favorite time of year--the seasons are wrapping up this last year for you in a graceful way.

On another note, it seems to me you could knock off that half marathon...what say you?? I began training for mine (Oct 16th) just this week.

Big hugs to you and Ms. Millie from California,


Amy said...

Awesome comments, thanks ladies! Sue, I love that you are not letting this go (the half-marathon thing). Believe me, I'm thinking about it. I expect I will find it easier to consider it as the tiredness from radiation lifts. I will keep you posted! :) I will keep writing (Lisa) and smiling (SN) and we shall see what life brings!