during some recent interactions, i’ve received a lot of questions that essentially boil down to: “you’re doing good, right?” or maybe that’s less a question and more a declarative statement? either way, while i believe it truly comes from a caring, hopeful place, it doesn’t feel as though there is room for a negative answer. this line of questioning can leave me feeling minimized and close the door on an authentic interaction. sure, talking about cancer and health is not fun or desirable for me or you, and it can be more pleasurable to keep the conversation light at 20,000 feet.
but the answer to the question is: it’s complicated. i’m doing good and bad in the same breath. and then amazing and gloomy in the next breath. and then exhilarated and dejected after that. and so on…which i imagine if you’re being honest with yourself, you have the same feelings breath to breath. it’s called being a normal human being.
when i don’t post for awhile, i hear from you with 2 possible assumptions: things have gone terribly awry so that i don’t have time to post, or i’m having so much fun that i don’t have time to post. while it’s recently skewing to the latter, it’s kind of in no man’s land right now.
because the realization has sunk in that this is a long journey, long like life long, i lately been frustrated and decided to avoid making space to reflect and write on it. i simultaneously feel like i’m over it all, like bored and exhausted with the cancer and healing and death talk, and also still in the middle of it all, like eating it and breathing it and crying over it and sighing over it.
after my treatments and then 3 surgeries in 2 months, i’m on a slow climb back to having energy. i harken back to the spoon theory I shared awhile back.
this hasn’t stopped me from jumping back into incredibly sweet adventures for work and play and to put my life back into fast gear, because i want to make up for lost time. but (a big BUT), i struggle to figure out how to do all this in such a way that i don’t boomerang back to an infection and exhaustion. i can no longer just “push through.” i’m no longer a night owl. i can’t drive long distances. i can’t do push-ups or lift my carry-on into the overhead. i really can’t drink a bottle of wine in one sitting (although that was pretty much always AMA).
of course i can sit here alive and type to you.
but, it’s complicated.
so that’s my answer to that question / declarative statement.
on the physical side, my back skin continues to take to my breast skin, and the incisions are healing well now. i have to laugh (cry? cringe?) at the surgeon’s continued surprise with how good it looks. i’m getting the tissue expander filled slowly, like 25cc every week or few weeks. the rest of my breast skin remains extremely thin, which is normal from radiation but still cause for concern in the reconstruction process and reason to go slow and not count the chickens before they hatch. i’ve been swimming a bit, and the remaining part of my latissimus muscle seems to be working well enough.
we saw my oncologist and continue to have intense conversations about starting new drugs and stopping zoladex shots. it’s a tightrope walk with ramifications either way. we also discussed my recent forgetfulness with her (er, mike brought it up because i forgot to). she asked me some customary questions, like: is your vision blurred? are you dizzy? do you have any headaches or other head pains? at once i realized what she was doing—making sure my memory issues are limited to things like chemo brain and menopause, rather than brain metastasis. good news is that i don’t have any of those other symptoms, so we’re chalking my memory issues up to chemo brain and menopause. i’m sorry in advance.
in other news, happy father’s day, especially to those new dads out there. i really love being able to share all the stork deliveries to friends and family across the planet. In a recent baby boom: congratulations to claire and mike with sebastian; megan and scott (and grandma Cherie!) with max; tony and lane with samantha; bridget and steve with lena; tiffany and brad with rowan; gabrielle and chase with lula (who holds a special place for me because she’s currently a ginger like grandma GG and named after my great aunt!).
ok, back to my complicated life and you to yours. talk to you soon and until then, much love –
PS the photo is of a cake my nieces decorated this weekend for the spring birthdays in our family and for father’s day. it’s also complicated.