The thing about cancer is that it is very isolating. At least, for me it is. When I find myself sitting in a waiting room alone trying to read the expression on my doctor’s face, and even though I am so very loved, I still feel alone. The weight of what could be and what has been presses down on my heart until it yields to the unbearable force.
Most of my brain says this is nothing. This lump, it’s benign, I’m sure. But when my doctor furrows her brow and orders an ultrasound, my stomach sinks. I lose my breath at the same instant I am presented with a choice.
The choice I have to make is whether or not I go down the rabbit hole. Do I follow her stray thoughts into despair and panic? It wouldn’t be unreasonable. Or do I hold my breath and clutch on to something stronger and more durable?
I search my heart and soul for that safe shore. I think about sleeping under the stars in Hawaii. I think about my children. I imagine wrapping my arms around my husband and burrowing my head in his chest.
I decide I won’t go there tonight. I won’t let the monster swallow me alive- gobbling me up and crunching on my bones. Not tonight. Tonight I am choosing something else. It won’t be slick and smooth like new paint. It will be choppy and guttural, but it will be real.
I don’t know what tomorrow brings, but there is familiarity in this uncertainty. I have walked this path before. I know every rock, every tree, every unfurled fern. I know how to survive here, and I will do whatever it takes to keep it that way.
Give ‘Em Hell