Well, I've almost made it to the other side of treatment number four (by the other side, I mean resolution of the after/side effects of the chemo) and I think I can see a crack of light at the end of the chemo sequence tunnel. I'm afraid to think too far past the last two treatments (9/16 & 10/7) but at least that will be the end of some part of this whole cancer thing, right? (Seriously, three full months trapped in my apartment with it and the reality of that word - cancer - is still actively blowing my mind. Anyway...)
The aftermath of this treatment hasn't been as bad as the others. I'm just a week out and, though I haven't been able to do much, I have made it outside a few times to bask in this amazing, cool weather. I'm still dealing with the regular, lingering digestive issues, but am ridiculously grateful that I didn't experience the crushing depression you all saw so clearly in the updates I wrote after treatment number three. Sarah Whitt, who came from Philly to stay with me for this treatment, looked at me on Friday night, after we'd spent time both morning and evening just sitting quietly on the front porch, and said, "This day feels like a gift." And she was right - a day so close to treatment that saw me outside and feeling relatively ok was most certainly a gift.
The first time I went out socially after my diagnosis, I felt very delicate. I experienced this sense of being in regular life - near the people I know and in a usual situation - but separate from it too. I was right there with everyone and they could see me and I could see them. We could interact, but I was different; I imagined myself inside a bubble.
With only two ("only" is a sickening sort of word to use here, but it gets the point across) treatments left and my external physical wounds moving toward healing, I'm feeling this sense of suspended animation, or rather that I can see a potential end to it - that I may actually get out of the suspended part and be animate again, that normal life is in the offing. But, I'm not sure what normal life looks like anymore. What I imagine is like a cartoon world where colors are bright and things move fast; there are birds and breezes and smiles and it's all quite dizzying. Actually, remember Glenda's bubble in the old Wizard of Oz movie? That's me in there - skinny, tired-eyed, bald - floating through this distorted Munchkin-Land of color that makes up the "normal" I can't quite imagine anymore. It's kind of scary. I want to be out of the bubble, but "out of the bubble" is now an unknown land.
I guess if I think hard enough about it, we all walk through an unknown land every day though, right? Even if this particular not-knowing does feel awfully looming? (Oh, I could spin on this for a while, but I won't!)
There is one seriously important thing you guys have shown me though. I'm not in this alone and for that - bubble or no bubble, known or unknown - my gratitude is (humor me!) as big and sparkly as the Emerald City.