Thank you, JayBee, for the sweet reminder to update.
I've been a bit thoughtful today and lately, thinking of work and if I want to keep the job I have, thinking about being blessed and about mere survival and about the past. And I have been thinking of the words of a very dear friend of mine (who is also a cancer survivor) that once said that melanoma is a scary thing but that we can find hope where dreams remain and where cancer cannot go.
And that's kinda what these last few weeks have been about- about looking around and seeing myself again, that inner resolve that I thought I'd never lose that just went into hiding for a bit, I guess. And the part of me that loved and allowed love in. I guess I thought I'd lost it, that the bitterness had completely replaced it. But it too just needed dusting off. About being open and vulnerable even in the midst of being scared to death that your vulnerability will come back to bite you. About the people that were there when I was so distant, knowing even then that all they wanted to do was help.
I've been reminded this week of who I really am and how I had lost some of myself with every diagnosis and treatment, and in the year of recovery after. Before that diagnosis in May of 2005, I would've said that there was nothing that could make me forget or compromise who I was. But knowing what I know now, I would say that illness can deplete you so that it is nearly impossible to not lose that. Would it be different if I had a recurrence now? God, I hope so. I hope that I have learned enough to know what to hold onto now and what the important things are. Even if not, I have learned the beauty of stillness and what it means to me. That I don't have to be afraid of it or be afraid to NOT be busy. I have learned what the pieces of myself are that will never change- my love for my dad and how I feel about my friends, how kids keep me grounded and that I love the way words can be strung together in a manner so amazing they can change the way a person feels. With all these realizations and all the questions, I can finally say that I have definitely found myself again, waiting in a place I never would've thought to look before. While I was busy trying to survive, I had wandered away. Everything was changing, and I couldn't figure out if I was even the same.
And while I was waiting to be found again, I was given a gift. It was the gift of support from people who helped carry me along, people who had once been where I now found myself. And I promised myself that if I made it through, that I would do the same for someone else- that I would do even more for them than was done for me, which was a lot. Believe it or not, the time has come, and I feel very graced by the opportunity. Because when you've been through it, you never want another person to do it alone for one tiny second.
And thus is life. I crave that time of year when I worry about nothing and instead roll thoughts and ideas around, but those days are still a few weeks away. For now, I have to make the best of what is chaotic and hectic- plans that were supposed to come through for the new warehouse are dragging along and I have been working harder than a sniffer dog in Amsterdam. Not to mention the buzz of regular life. I'm looking forward to vacation. Reading a book for Pete's sake. Taking a walk. Sleeping late and having a long lunch. I miss it. But I am also finding a really good feeling about all this limbo I've been in and just kind of enjoying these weird in-between stages. After all, when they're gone, they're gone, and then I'll be looking back saying, "I wish I just would've relaxed and enjoyed that time for what it was."