It’s been awhile since I’ve written. My silence is a reflection of how I’ve been feeling emotionally—like I am through the initial whirlwind of a cancer diagnosis and beginning of treatment, and I have since landed in a “now-what?-all-the-hoopla-has-died-down-and-I-have-nothing-new-to-do-or-report” kind of quiet. For so many weeks there, I was on this strange high. Odd considering the circumstances, I know. So odd that I hesitate to admit it in front of who-knows-who is reading this.
But this is what transpired for me: I was diagnosed with cancer on a Wednesday. I (barely) moved around in a drug-like haze for the next two days. Then I woke up on a Saturday, bubbly and excited to make Harrison’s 9th birthday party that afternoon all he dreamed. After another day or two of continued bubbly, I started to think I was in some deep denial and that any day now, I would snap and feel the darkness one is “supposed” to be feel with a cancer diagnosis. But the darkness never came. Instead, friends and family came (in the form of cards, calls, meals, visits, texts, packages) with a stunning vengeance. A great night out with Josh came. The sun came. A beautiful rain came. The holidays (which I love) came. Special time with my kids came. In other words, everything before me felt like a gift. I was so happy. So blissfully grateful for my life.
I still am grateful! But I’m not riding the same high I was through the holidays. Though it makes sense to me now, I never expected my emotional state to decline as my physical state improved. But since I’ve been responding to the chemo with more ease and therefore able to do more, my mind and my ansiness have been busier, searching for things to lock onto. I’m more troubled again by a cluttered home. I’m anxious about my future: What I will do in the short term as I finish treatment, but now with more energy and comfort than I had before? What will do in the future beyond my cancer treatment now that I’m letting myself dream up a different kind of work life?
I’m also starting to feel the weight of constant company. Having my parents here has, up until now, been utterly blissful. What a dreamy, happy, perfectly fulfilling and present holiday we had, just being together, in the moment, letting the days unfold. I never wanted it to end. Felt my familiar “I want this to last forever” grasping early on in the kids’ school break. But by this past weekend, it felt time for the kids to go back to school. And around the same time, I started feeling us grownups bumping up against each other a little more. My parents have been living with us for a month now, and I am craving space.
Everything felt so blissfully easy (however ironic it might have been) when I was feeling so crappy, and all I was doing was attending to my health from moment to moment to moment. So little anxiety. So little thinking about the future. So little thinking about the endless possibilities in life. Now, the more capable I feel, the more complicated things feel, and old familiar patterns of anxiety are seeping back in.