We had a perfect day. An absolutely perfect day. And we deserved it.
On July 7th, the years anneversary of what was my colon cancer removal surgery, we celebrated:
1. No More Cancer
2. My 44th Birthday
3. Our Wedding Reception/Vow Swap (married 5/10/2018)
3. Our Son’s Graduation Party
4. Life, Community and Love
We are lesbians so effeciency is a key part of our genetic make-up. It was at our home and a potluck. Seriously everything I ever dreamed of including Chicken Sh*t Bingo and a bonfire. It was amazing and full of love.
This party has been a marker of “We Made It!” and we did. But life is life and not always wrapped up in pretty bows and happy forever onward. Our family unit is doing good. Sam is working and getting ready for college. Ella completed drivers training and is now at camp for two weeks. Jenn is working. I am working. Dogs are napping, digging, playing or barking and the cat is being a cat. Things continue to swirl in the outside world knocking at our door but I am having a huge draw to raise the protective bubble on my home for a bit and let us rest. Let us breathe. Let us sit and say “We just got through a really intense scary time we need to fill our cups for a bit.”
Recently, Jenn asked if we are afraid to have fun. That is a real question. We are fun people for sure but we have not made time to hike, camp, play, etc. together. We have laid a lot of mulch and built a fence or two. We are good workers but we also want to be good players. We do find work to be fun, a lot of fun actually but to really allow ourselves to unwind has not been priority. I know I am starting to feel that and to be honest I am not quite sure how to fix it. It may seem self evident and an easy solution in theory but in practice it is turning out to be a challenge.
I think we both are feeling a little lost on a focus or footing moving forward. I am still trying to get back into working out, resolving the diastasis recti issue I am having and how to eat and suppliment my body best. I have been able to let go of the fear that sat with me everyday. I even had about a month of things feeling ok, until more recently I had a twinge of anxiety creep in. It happened to be right before I started to not feel well after eating a salad. Apparently salads upset my system. That is a super bummer in my world. I am still in denial. I am actually having an easier time with the fact that ice cream makes my belly upset in comparison to dealing with the fact that salads and cabbage don’t agree with me. All of those are just details though, nothing big.
I do wonder if we are afraid to slow down and make space for the quite calm. The mind is a beautiful thing but can definitely be a trickster. Having worked through my treatment starting up a new non-profit and implimenting a new program as well as teaching doula trainings, did not give me a whole lot of time to sit in what I was going through. To be honest I did not want to sit in what I was going through so my tendency to keep on working makes complete sense to me. Now that I am done wtih treatment and getting to know my new body and new reality as a …………. cancer survivor, I think I need a minute to process the past year. (Note:As soon as I typed cancer survivor I started crying. I think there may be some things I need to work through, yes?)
I am feeling a huge draw to sit and write about the past year and really take the time to sit with all my thoughts. That may take a bit. I feel like there is so much to think about and explore about the experience of cancer. I feel almost unqualified though because my experience was like a blitz and most likely I will be ok. There are folks I know who are having a much different experience of cancer than I did, and not the good kind of different. But I also want to sit and talk to them about what they are feeling about it all. I sort of feel like my expereince may give me the secret club pass, it is not just a club pass though…… I am part of that club.
Big or brief, I am finding most folks that experience cancer have similarities. These similarities, we whisper to eachother when another person joins the club but no one really outwardly talks about. More and more people are joining the club. There is no way to totally express what the experience for cancer is like and all experiences are unique but there are common threads – chemo brain, paranoia about any ache or pain being cancers return, sometimes when I weed my yard there is a plant that gives off a scent that reminds me of the saline flush I would get in my IV and it makes that back of my throat tighten up with a mild gag reflex. I don’t know if that last one is a shared experience but it happened yesterday and I wanted to share. I can’t be the only one though…. the saline flushes suck and jolly ranchers do not work to cover the taste only peppermints work most effectively.
Maybe writing about my cancer is my next artistic endeavor. Writing is new to me. I am a metalsmith and a scuptor, 3D has always been my thing. Maybe it is time for a new medium of expression. It feels right. It feels scary. It feels like it may be time to focus up, lean in, dig deep and get some words down.
What to do next or how to process all of this – I do not know. What I do know is that today we are leaving to head up north to camp for two days withe two kayaks on top of the car and two bikes on the back. That seems like a good first step to having fun again. Once we get that back on track anything is possible.