I suppose it'll soon be time to stop sending updates this way. That we'll all go on somehow and this time will start to fade. That's what people tell me. I'm thinking about other ways to keep writing about this experience, because I don't think I'll be through it for a long, long time, but eventually the Lotsa website updates will stop. I'll keep you posted.
For now though, I thought you might like to know how things have been going. A couple of updates ago, before I had my good-news test results, I wrote that my counselor at the cancer center had warned me that the period immediately following treatment, following the all-clear, can be very difficult for some. I also wrote about feeling like this tiny creature on a endless shore watching the tidal wave of regular life coming to take me down. This did not look like a surf-able wave. When it hit, it didn't feel like one either. I've been on my knees gasping for a couple of weeks now. It's been rough.
There is a sense that I should be celebrating (and special thanks to those of you who have felt the excitement for me when I couldn't), but what I think I've actually been doing is feeling the enormity of emotional response, emotional trauma, that I had to hold at bay while I went through treatment. During those months, I just had to take the next step and then the next and next until I made it out. I think it'll be a while before I really catch my breath.
As of this weekend, my pets are home.
That sentence has to stand alone; it feels like it means something bigger than the simple reality that the amazing people (Wendy & Johnny and Jen T) who took such good care of them have passed Elgin and Leo back to me. It's hard to explain how normalizing their presence in my apartment is. I feel in a time warp. Today is a snowy Sunday spent with my pets. It's like I've jumped back to last winter/spring, like the summer was a dream or another life. Whoa, I just realized that this whole thing began with a trip to the ER on May 17th... Tomorrow is November 17th. Six months. I'm not going to add an "(only)" before that, but I see the ghost of it.
Tomorrow I return to work on campus.
Another stand-alone sentence. I've been working part time from home since just after my second chemo, and I'm only cleared to work reduced hours until I get more strength back, but still, this is back in my office. Regular. Normal.
For some reason, the Wizard of Oz movie has come to mind over and over through the course of this time - different characters and scenes. Here's where I am now. Remember when Dorothy is imprisoned by the Wicked Witch and Judy Garland is on screen, all tear-stained and helpless? "I'm frightened, Auntie Em. I'm frightened!" And then... The serenity on Dorothy's face when she realizes how to get home? When she closes her eyes and starts clicking her heels together. She knows she's ok then. She knows that all will be well. I am both of those Dorothys right now. Caught somewhere in the middle.
I just tried to write a paragraph ending this chain of updates and thanking you, but I can't do it yet. Knowing you're there, even quietly and at a distance still means too much. Through all of this, I've pictured you as this stunning small crowd of people who've got my back. I guess I want to keep that image for a while longer. I hope you don't mind. I think I still need you.
Love and more love,