It feels- amazing. Amazingly like it used to before I knew what a cancer diagnosis was like. Like I went and had my first mole removed and the path report was negative, and now I can go on with my life without the worry of all the stuff that coulda been. Like life never got scary. Amazing. I still tear up when I talk about it.
Now, I know that I'm still a survivor, and I still must be vigilant, and I know all that comes with that. I'm sure that in a few weeks or months when it's time for scans again, that I'll be scared until the results come back, and that I'll still panic over new moles or strange pigments or funny aches and pains. But I feel, today, like I've won the lottery and I've no limit to what I can do with the gift I've been given of "no evidence of disease." Free and clear.
And, yet, of course, I am hurt, too, by the fact that we have all lost Sarah. I simply can't believe she's gone.
Since February of this year, I have lost four people to cancer. I can't say how it hurts to write that.
Cancer is almost always a whirlwind of a mixture of the strangest feelings- joy at the good results, pain with the bad. Grieving the loss of all you had in your life (or at least you thought you had) before the diagnosis, and rejoicing in all you've learned and figured out about life since then- like the precious gift of a single moment. There's the joy of meeting the most amazing people on Earth, making friends across the country, drawing strength from their journeys- and- the flip side of that- is hearing that this stupid disease beat their spirit once and for all.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about Oscar, and I said that my first instinct when I thought about his death was a sense of relief that he was finally out of pain, out of the battle. At ease. And, after that feeling, it was simply a matter of getting past the missing him. I know that everyone that knew Sarah is probably feeling this same thing right now. But I can't tell you how much strength I drew from her advice. And I'm angry in the selfish way that she deserved so much more. I read her blog again and it's like I'm reading the story of a superhero, who put her private self out there so other people could learn. Amazing how she never gave up and she fought her way through the system to make sure she'd find a doctor who would treat her to fight melanoma till her last breath. And now that she's gone, it's stranger than ever.
So, again today, is the whirlwind. And I am just soaking it all up- the ache for Sarah and Derek and the joy of the gift that I know I have been given. It never makes sense, but I think to seek reasoning or consolation or an explanation is only inviting a conflict that I can't resolve.
Once again, no tidy wrap-up, but a quick petition to the higher power that is (or is not) ruling all this: thank you for my time knowing Sarah, thank you for lending Sarah to the world for a while, and thank you for the grace I've been offered, too.