You guys. I did it. I’m not even going to tell you. It was awful. It was fine sometimes. But mostly awful. Here are some of the high points – or just points of some sort – over the last month.
I still have a whole lot of lung. Dr. V didn’t take as much as he thought he needed to. The trouble was removed but not the entire upper lobe.
I actually haven’t had cancer since January 21. The radiation in January worked. Do you remember the radiation? Four sessions of a super concentrated radiosurgery kind of thing with almost zero side effects? IT WORKED. My body reacted all dramatically to it. I don’t know why. I’ve never been known to overreact before. But that’s what happened. So the tumor appeared to be growing, and they had to take it out. Then they tested it, and boom baby. Not a single live cancer cell. I WENT THROUGH ALL THIS FOR NOTHING. (Not really. It had to be done. And “You don’t have cancer today” is so not nothing.)
Some people remove chest tubes really well. Some people do not. I don’t want to talk about it.
I haven’t been on pain meds for weeks. I haven’t had panic attacks from going off pain meds too quickly in several weeks minus a few really bad days.
I quit the social media challenge #100HappyDays. I got about 70 days in, although there were a few gaps there at the end. Bob Goff says it is okay to quit things on Thursday. I don’t know if that’s the day I quit, but I did think of Bob Goff’s advice when I did it. It’s not like I couldn’t find happy anymore. I am totally up to the challenge of finding a happy thing every single day of a grueling lung surgery, rare surgical complication, five days of no food or drink, nine days without seeing my children, and three days of what-the-H-just-happened-to-me-and-how-will-I-ever-want-to-live-again. I can do it. There were flowers, a beautiful new journal from my dad, the popsicle I got to eat on the day after the procedure that finally fixed the complication, books, magazines, time to watch all my favorite chick flicks plus Pete’s Dragon with Jake, weather nice enough for open windows – tons of things really. It’s just the doing things out loud part that I wanted to quit, really. The have-to of it. The drawing attention to the fact that sometimes the only happy moment was the one where I didn’t feel post-traumatically stressed over that chest tube removal. So I quit the challenge but tried really hard not to quit the happy. And with the exception of a few iffy days, I basically did it. I just quit the Instagraming of it.
Day Jobs aren’t so bad. I didn’t want to go back. For a week or so, it was the last remaining anxiety trigger. It was sort of a rough year at work anyway. And I didn’t really get better like I should have. I wasn’t active enough, didn’t eat like a body should, couldn’t imagine eight-hour days so far away from the chair I had lived in for three weeks. But then I did go back. And it was kind of lovely to be there. I like having things to do and people to see. I like earning the paycheck again. They made a ton of changes while I was away. The hallways smell like new carpet and fresh paint. It’s metaphorical, and I love it.
I now only have good days and great days. That’s a Livestrong quote, not my own. But it’s pretty true. I can’t think very far ahead; it stresses me out. Just a day or so away, a moment or two from wherever I am at the time. I do one task – that’s it. I’m too tired to freak out over things, too used to being quiet to allow very much noise. I’m back to dreaming and planning and working the dreams and the plans as much as I possibly can. But I’m also back to believing that whatever work I accomplish toward the dream in any given day, that work is as much a destination as it is the way to get there.
It was so not fun. But like all the times before, it came to an end. And I am stronger for it. I believe I am Superwoman by now. And that means, it’s enough. I’m like the super fit person in the gym to whom Jim Gaffigan says, “What are you doing here? You’re done.” That’s me. And if cancer is the gym, I just want to make this very clear: I’m outta here. And I am not coming back.