I’m on my way back to Seattle for some follow-up care post radiation. I’m expecting a quick and positive review from the radiation oncologist as my skin has healed quickly and fantastically. I also get to see the plastics team for, umm…reinflation? After living lopsided since January, I get to re-expand my right side (it was in the way of radiating the left side). So I guess that will be nice. It is usually a little hard on the muscles in my chest and back initially but that will subside in a matter of days and it’s easy given everything else I’ve handled.
Overall, I’m feeling good. Good for where I am in my recovery. It’s all relative but compared to this time last year, it’s heaven. My major limitations are energy and nausea. I think I’m about 40% of the energy I enjoyed BC (before cancer). I also rely on anti-nausea medications most days but I don’t experience much pain most of the time. For my friends who are still in the middle of the battle, hang in there. There is light at the end of the tunnel.*
Going back means facing some scary monsters under the bed. I had a hard time in Seattle while undergoing radiation and being away from my family. It was a period of insecurity for me. I felt insecure and exposed about my body, the end of treatment, going back to work, and facing the life I had left behind. In transitioning back to life AC, I felt like a girl without an identity. Without something that really grounded me. I wasn’t healed, but I wasn’t sick. I had one foot in my career and one foot in life outside the office. I was a mother without children, a wife without a husband. It was a new city, new friends (great friends), new home, new bed, new body, new injuries, new family (the best new family) and old feelings, old conflicts, old struggles, old doubts. Most of the time, I was barreling through a spiraling depression. I’m going back to face that and from 30,000 feet where I’m writing this, I’m feeling brave.
Maybe it’s the altitude that grants me some perspective, but from here I can see the horizon. Honestly, this plane is chasing down the sun. So, too am I. I’m chasing down lighter days. I’m building my energy, picking up my stride trying to round that corner. I can see the end and the new beginning. It’s a season of choice, a season of reconciliation. I have no idea what the future holds but the shadows don’t seem so long in this new life.
So I’m heading back to the battleground a little lighter. A lot lighter. I can ground myself in my family, my friends, and within myself. All three are comprised of the old and the new. Somehow, I am grateful for it all.
Give ‘Em Hell
*I do know and love too many (not in favor but in frustration with the fact that this reality exists for them) metastatic cancer fighters. I have a small window into your world and I am achingly aware of how unfair and maddening life with cancer is. I do not mean to disparage or dishearten your journeys. I only mean to offer light and hope to those who walk after me- whatever the path looks like for them. I believe you know and trust that about me, but I want to be clear that I hold you all in my mind and heart when I write.