It has been a minute since I last blogged. I think we all pressed pause on our lives this last year. I can hardly believe it has been a year since I walked mask-free around town, a year since I visited my closest friends and family, and a year since my sweet step-mom passed away.
If you would have told me in 2015, when I was told I had only months left, that this is how I would have spent A YEAR of my life, I would have argued otherwise.
So much changed in one year. I hardly know where to start. Chemo-brain will decide what I can and cannot recall, so here we go:
This time last year, the “beast” we call cancer took my step-mother away from us. It was fast, it was ugly and it was beyond painful for all-especially her. You see, we did not even know that she was ill. By the time that we all found out, we had moments left to tell her what she meant to us, convince her not to be frightened, ease her pain in every way humanely possible, argue with the medical professionals that they had no idea what they were talking about, and prepare our hearts and my father’s for a final goodbye. It was impossible. We failed at it but we did our very best. And, now she’s gone.
My beautifully talented daughter sang at her funeral and the words “it’s so hard to say goodbye” still loops in my ears. It is so damn hard.
When I was diagnosed in 2015 I did an interview on the news begging people to learn about Inflammatory Breast Cancer. I remember saying, “I am not afraid to die, I am afraid to say goodbye”. That statement, etched inside my mind like a tattoo, rings true today.
At my recent check-up I learned of a new recurrence from the “beast”. This time, creeping around my liver and settling in. My last treatment lasted for A YEAR. It got me through losses, home schooling (omg!), college graduation, snow storms in Texas (what?), my world transforming to on-line, and a global pandemic.
What does this mean? It means we adjust our sails, again. I am getting quite good in these uncharted waters but the adjustment never comes without a hell of a lot of scans, visits, patience, and tears. New treatment equals new side effects. The latest side effects mean a new direction for my life. These adaptations are hard on me. They are alarming to my family, too.
Blisters that once limited walking on the bottoms of my feet re-appear in my mouth and throat. Pain that restricted my activities transforms into rashes that embarrass me. Food that once comforted, tastes odd or not at all. And, my precious coffee flows down my throat with little taste at all but the habit and the warmth makes me feel normal again.
Constantly adjusting my sails-I sail on. Fighting the unexpected storms while appreciating the warmer, calmer days-I sail on. I am tired, I am worn out, I have been drenched in fear and dried again, all the time loving my journey and those that navigated these uncharted waters next to me.