As I sit here trying to write papers on my breast cancer research from my thesis I am still mentally foggy when I sit down to focus. It's what I have come to call in my head a Gollumy day. I am trying how to get past this so I can finish these papers and get things going without having to wash through all these emotions every time I whip out my data files and read up on the most recent breast cancer research. As I look at slides and count patient data I am vividly aware of the fact that each sample is a person. All this data…it *was* me. I, like others, am logged in the big beige slide and FFPE carousels on 5th floor at City Hospital…just another surgpath number. Yes, I did work to help make diagnosis better for people. In the process I met all the people who ended up testing and supporting me in my fight, giving me confidence in their quality of work and the level of treatment I received. It helped me stay sane knowing all the details I had learned.
And now I'm better. So they say. I feel better. I have hair. I have my health back. I feel…almost…normal. Some days I can forget I was ever sick. Some days. Until I take of my shirt to get ready for bed and see the white line across my chest where my right breast used to be. Most days I remember how strong I am…was…and most days I remember what I learned about what I need to appreciate and look to as important in my life. It's not like I lost my legs or anything.
But some days, like today, as I sit with my kitten in my lap at the table typing and attempting to work on stats and read about breast cancer all that comes back in random flashes. Like some sort of demented PTSD. Trying to focus on things and ignore all the emotions that flow back is not something I'm completely ready for. Not so bad really…I just want it to go away…and am wondering if it ever will.
When we went to Burning man last year I took my chemo log card. I left it in the temple and spent time there sobbing out my anxiety and worry and all that came with everything I had been through and tried my best to leave it there. When the temple burned it took a lot of that with it. I met up with some cancer survivors there and together we walked to remember and to forget. I let go of a lot there.
But apparently I still have a lot in there hiding out and it likes to come and visit from time to time. Just to mess with me.
Well, Fuck you cancer. Fuck you for everything you took from me and everything I have to carry with me every day.
I want to stand at the top of a mountain and scream with every fiber of my being…like Gollum said: LEAVE NOW AND NEVER COME BACK.