Monday, June 27, 2011

Old Acquaintance

I've been very sulky lately.

The weeks leading up to my oncology visit tainted by my runaway imagination took a toll. Without realizing it, I ended up back in cancer's cloud.  The bleak, obscure fog blinding me to who or what's around.  All hidden.  I had to squint hard to see any good buried there.

In the midst of this, my little guy, graduated from Pre-school.  A significant milestone, but its importance intensified by the memories it triggered for me. Two years ago, my oldest son took part in the same ceremony.  He accomplished the same achievement, but I was newly diagnosed then, still facing a mastectomy.  The final pathology still unknown and weighing heavily on my mind as I sat among the crowd of smiling parents.

Instead of basking in his happiness, my son's rite of passage proved to be bittersweet.  I was mourning.  Our future, one big question.

It's ironic, sad even that I recently found myself in a similar situation, but despite my worries I knew I was better off than two years ago.  After all, these uncertainties were the product of my own paranoia, not any facts.  Not any new diagnosis, just the one I conjured up for myself.

Carrying that little fact close to me, I watched my five-year old parade past to collect his "diploma" and walk toward his future without my skin prickled by unspoken anxiety.  The words cancer and future so rarely go together, but this night, I tried my hardest to believe.

It's been about a week since my oncologist declared me normal.  Since learning the scans I was so twisted over were clear and I've become aware of a new emotion or rather, an old one I needed to reacquaint myself with.

Excitement.  Remember that?

I've noticed small sparks of something down deep flaring when thinking about upcoming commitments, parties, vacation.  For the first time in a long time, I'm looking forward to things.  My mind doesn't immediately go to that dark place or to a long list of unwelcome appointments.  There aren't any in the immediate future, in these summer months.  The black cloud has lifted for the moment and I can see past cancer.

It's freeing and scary all at the same time.  I'm afraid to even write it here for fear of jinxing myself.  I'm not superstitious, but cancer changes a person, changes the way I think of hope, makes it small.  I'm worried I shouldn't feel too good about stuff...or else.

Crazy, I know.

Anyway, I so often share the crappy side of cancer that I wanted to say I'm feeling positive these days.  Dare I say, enjoying myself and my family.  I'm no longer the only one at the party faking the laughter.  I have a slight recollection of life as I used to live it.  It's nice.

But even now, I can't end this post without saying I know cancer lurks just out of sight, as the sneaky bastard tends to do, but today, it's not breathing down my neck.  I'm grateful for that and for these days.

Enjoy...is one of my favorite words.  I plan to enjoy my summer.  I so hope there's joy in yours.



16 comments:

  1. Enjoy your new normal! It's a much sweeter normal than the normal before "it."

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  2. Nice to feel that ol' spark for a change, isn't it? XXXOOO

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  3. It is simple thought but quite comforting nonetheless to know that should there be a day in the future that holds unpleasantness that that day is not today.

    As Aragorn said to his army outside the gates of Mordor:
    "There will be a day when the courage of men fails when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day, today we fight!"

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  4. I plan to enjoy the summer as well Stacey. What could be better than the sun in your face (with a good sunscreen of course!), the smell of the flowers and newly cut grass, bbq's, parties, freshly picked heirloom tomatoes, vacations, and the list goes on. But this list DOES NOT include cancer that's for sure! Love to you xxxxxx

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  5. Absolutely lovely. Wishing you much joy this summer and well beyond.

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  6. How beautifully you capture the roller coaster ride of cancer emotions. Someone left a comment on my latest blog post today at Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer and it came to mind as I was reading this: "Having cancer has turned my life upside down. My happiness is deeper, my sadness is more profound.." I do think that cancer makes us feel things more deeply don't you?

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  7. Absolutely... it is possibly the "best" worse gift ever received.

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  8. Reading this entry today was such a coincidence because I have been feeling much the same as you ...the cancer cloud often robbing me of what should be a happy moment... I too got the all clear on my first 3 month check up and I am feeling the happy today ...I have decided to allow myself a " cloud free" summer too . I am determined to enjoy the next few months and not let "those" thoughts in ! Happy Summer to us both !

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  9. Sweet, my friend. Just lovely. The photo at the end of the post is everything, as is your joy in writing about this.

    So cool to see,
    jms

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  10. I do know how you feel and I rejoice with you! Your son is adorable.
    Brenda

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  11. Your son's face says it all in the picture...Happiness is possible in the moment! ENJOY:)
    Deb

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  12. What an adorable smile your son has! My youngest was three when I was first diagnosed and now he is 19! Your words reminded me of those early post-cancer days when I wondered if I would see him through to kindergarten graduation, much less all the other milestones in a child's life. I rejoice with your other readers in your excitement and happiness!
    Jan

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  13. Stacey,

    Your son is such a cutiepie!! You capture the essence of the cancer dynamic so well: guarded optimism, and the complex rollercoaster of emotions that come with a cancer diagnosis and life living with or after cancer.

    I'm so glad you are looking toward the future with hope. It's a tough journey, but you are enjoying life and living it to the fullest!

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  14. Ladies, thank you so much for sharing these happy days. They're few and far between for us, aren't they? I hope you're all having an equally (or better!) summer than I. Thanks for reading here and writing your thoughts!

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  15. Oh, Stacey, it is so good to hear you are enjoying things more again, that you are feeling excited and looking forward to the future with more confidence. I loved reading this post and seeing that delightful picture! Those moments are so precious. I want to enjoy this summer, too, after last summer, the one I refer to as the "summer that wasn't". Thanks for sharing some happiness! Have a great Fourth.

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  16. Excitement and happiness! Doesn't get much better than that... enjoy! I too seem to be having a good summer and 'remembering' how to feel those same things. Thanks for sharing yours.

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