As you might have noticed, I went missing for a while. I started a story and left everyone hanging, right in the middle.
How rude of me, and probably somewhat thoughtless to those who don’t see me outside the words of these posts. My only excuse, and the real reason I went missing, is that it was hard.
Life became a daily cycle of feeling like crap and not wanting to bring anyone down to where I was. I didn’t want to talk about it, think about it, or put into words how hard it was. It was too close. I needed a break from cancer, so I took it.
Chemo is the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through, in every way you can imagine. I never doubted that I would survive, but I have no idea why I ever felt that way. Maybe I was naive, or in denial, or just plain stupidly stubborn And it wasn’t bravery or strength, and I’m certainly no hero just for having survived cancer. Braver, stronger women than myself have fought much harder than I ever did and still lost.
I was simply lucky enough to be diagnosed before it had spread.
I wouldn’t wish cancer on my worst enemy, but cancer itself was also never the enemy. It was always just something that happened to me, a bunch of rapidly dividing cells that found a home on my left ovary.
Chemo and I, on the other hand, were never friends, and I cursed him often. He had a job to do, though, and because of that I tried to be as accommodating as possible. I hated chemo. Chemo was scary because I could physically feel, with each treatment, that his poison had the power to kill all of me, and not just the cancer cells.
Having cancer has been quite an experience, a very humbling one, to say the least. But it’s even more humbling to know that I survived.
Today I sit here on the last day of the year, reflecting on everything that’s transpired this past year, from the first inkling I had on January 4, the day after our wedding, that something wasn’t right, to a trip to the ER, surgery, chemo, and now, recovery. While I was thinking about all of this, the thought crossed my mind that I should be ready to see 2013 go. Hell, I should be ready to kick it’s sorry ass to the other side of the moon!
But in all actuality I’m kind of sad to see this year end. In some strange way, I’m okay with all that’s happened. It wasn’t all bad.
I married a wonderful guy, one who challenges me everyday to see things in a different way and to be a better person. I logged a lot of good running miles the first five months of the year, and I’m slowly starting to run again.
I got a lot of reading done. It wasn’t always quality reading, but those fluffy novels got me through many hours of post-chemo nausea and fatigue so deep I could barely get out of bed. And I won’t even go into depth on all the hours I spent watching Breaking Bad on my iPad. I credit it for saving my sanity those first two worst chemo treatments.
I got a lot of knitting done, too, and set up an Etsy shop. I rediscovered walking. My taste buds are back, and a good, cheesy pizza is once again heaven on Earth.
I learned that my children have turned into good, kind, caring adults, and that they chose their partners well. I discovered that people you think you barely know can turn out to be nicer than you ever imagined. I realized that people want to help, that almost everyone is kind in their own way.
I got four new hairstyles this year: shorter, even shorter, bald, and now a quarter inch of baby fine fluff with a lot more white hair (or extreme blonde, as I prefer) than before.
I learned that you can become friends with someone and love them just through their words and emails, and that losing them hurts just as much as losing someone you’ve known your entire life. Friendships, like life, can be forged–and lost–in the blink of an eye.
The words “life is short” became real this year, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I appreciate more now, the so-called little things. Taking a walk outside, running without a watch, playing games with my kids, cooking a meal together, hearing a good song on the radio . . . I could go on and on. I try not to waste those moments.
But there is still a story to be finished, a resolution to be told.
So in 2014 I want to finish the story I started, if only to help other women and their loved ones, and to honor my friend Katie and all the women who didn’t make it. Even though you all know that I’m okay now, please bear with me for the next few months while I write up all the unfinished posts I started. Maybe something I share will help you or someone in your life one day.
So, as I bid adios to 2013, I have to admit it was a good year, if only for this one big reason: I’m still alive.