I think this is finally the time that I can say I feel like my old self again. I waited to feel that, and it may not be permanent, but it's here now, and like the sun shining on your face, after a cold, hard winter, it is welcomed and unquestioned.
At first I was going to have a party at our house, not for any particular reason. Just for summer, and to see our friends again, and to get people to visit us way out in the SGV. It wasn't for marking anything in particular. As the date crept closer, I started thinking about food, and party plates and how much mess a party is and how much energy it takes and I just couldn't deal with the stress of planning a party. Rebecca M. had a great suggestion; have everyone go to the roller rink in Glendale. It saved the party and made for a great place to get together. I have been feeling significantly better and getting my energy back. Now, instead of having one hour of energy, like this time last year, I have days of energy, back to back, with a down day maybe once a week. As things got better physically, I felt my mind coming back, and memory and the fervor of life again. It is almost as if I awoke from a two-year coma. Locked in this coma, it seemed as though I would never break through the pain of fatigue, or the feeling that I had lost something precious; time.
When I had my private pity parties, I most grieved the loss of the last two years. I remember my 34th birthday and suddenly the other day, having lunch with friends, we were 36, but I had nothing to show for the last two years...nothing worth the time that escaped me, that was stolen from me. I felt cheated by time, and cheated by life, given this hand, this cancer mess. But now, I think on the last two years, and how much my body had to go through--how much the body does for us to keep healthy, stay alive, and thrive. Thriving is the operative action. It is not enough to breathe in and out--but at times, on chemo and radiation, the destruction of cells and weak blood---breathing was all you could do. It makes you think that it is all you can do, and that it will never end. But it does! It does end! And it is not wasted time, but time that the body needs to rebuild those cells in order for it to thrive again.
Recovery continues, but turning that corner from cells restructuring themselves to thriving now, has happened. It gives the mind back to you for more important things, like skate parties, spending time with family and friends, exercising, and looking for a new beginning in life. Dylan and I have a saying, "You're never stuck." If you don't like the life you're in, you are not stuck, just choose something different, choose a different path. When your body and mind are captured by illness, that seems impossible. Fortunately, and it is still a work in progress, it feels like it's a turn in the path. I am approaching this newfound freedom with caution, a new appreciation and a sense of commitment for permanent lifestyle changes.
The Skate Party was nostalgia, and celebration rolled onto the skate floor! Family and friends and many others who were there in spirit made the moment feel like the closing of "the bad time" for me, and the beginning of something new and filled with hope, and love and the evidence by my energy that my body is thriving. Yes, I have to take my vitamins, curb alcohol, and drink tons of water, keep my appointments with the onco, surgeon and MRI techs. And I am deeply aware of my absolute risk and chances of recurrence in my lifetime. I can't wait around for it to happen just to say, "SEE! I told you it would happen!" I have to thrive. I have to live. This was a celebration of the "bad time"ending, the feeling of the last two years, the feeling that has plagued me daily, at times minute by minute, is fading into "the memory".
What I said many months ago in a post, "the memory", was my wish and fantasy: "One day this cancer will be a memory that I will refer to more like a broken arm, or broken leg, rather than a broken heart and life..." and that time is now.