Posted on April 8, 2015
I must say the farm has been pretty calm around here for the last week or so. No more pain, and starting to settle into a pattern of what I have craved so desperately since that desperate day in December 2013 – normality.
It is not, of course, lost on any of us that nothing will ever be normal again. But everyone’s “normal” is different, and I am starting to adjust to yet another version of mine. Yep, it’s normality, on a crash course with it’s buddy, reality. And the closer I can get to the first one, the easier it is to deal with the second. Since I sat back in the chemo chair, I have come to realise that I will probably never again have the level of energy that I did the day before the return to the poison pump. It’s something I have mourned, something I knew would be the first to go, and you know what? I just have to adjust to that, like everything else. It means shopping in the days before, making sure the fridge is stocked and some meals are cooked and nothing much is planned in the first days after infusion. It’s being honest with myself about what I can handle and what I can’t (this is hard! I naturally try to push through.) It’s, more importantly, learning to be honest with everyone else about what I can manage and what I can’t. It’s realising that these are not good days for rushing about like a cut cat, but excellent days for reading, and writing and snuggling in bed with the babies for a movie. Even the most difficult of days can still be productive days. They can still be GOOD days.
And so, I’ve found a kind of…..serenity. I’ve very much learned to live in the moment, though it is not always easy. I can normally pull myself back from the abyss if I feel I am going to fall again. I don’t make any long term plans, and I try not to have any long term thoughts, but I am making lots of lovely short term plans and enjoying every minute of this life, these loves, my friends.
I’ve been thinking a bit lately about how much I have lost in the last few months. Not because I want to be maudlin, but because I believe I need to acknowledge it, and honour it, and because quite frankly I am absolutely fascinated with how the fuck I’m not rocking in a corner. I’ve lost anything beyond my immediate future. I won’t see my children grow up. I won’t grow old with my love. I had to let go of the house I had dreamed of all my life, even before I saw it, and all the memories that I thought I would make inside it’s walls. SO must loss. SO much heartbreak.
Now, when I say I am fascinated that I am not rocking in a corner, be assured I don’t think the fact that I am not makes me in any way special. I receive so many beautiful comments on this blog, and I know people think I am doing something extraordinary here, in that I have reached a kind of “peace” with the situation at the moment. But the thing is, hundreds of thousands (millions I guess) of people do this every day. Wake up every day and face life at it’s most fearsome, but still get up. I am just constantly adjusting to different situations, trying to find some positives, and my cancer support group is full of other people with stage 4 cancer doing the same thing. Getting up, raising their kids, loving their partners, being friends, sisters, daughters, and fully functioning members of society. There is a drive we all share, and that is the realisation that we can’t change our realities, but we know we are right here, right now, and we are going to suck the absolute marrow out of life for every day that we can.
The other thing that has bought me quiet comfort lately is the fact that I’m still me. I might have reached a serenity with my situation, but I’m not serene. I don’t walk around with a golden light emanating out of me as I do all the mothering without yelling. I’ve not developed any more patience with mess and screaming and little girl bitch fighting than I ever have in the past. I still get mad, hopping so, I yell sometimes, I swear, I lose my temper, I feel ungrateful, I wish the fucking dishes would do themselves..alll that stuff. The other day I had my first “passionate discussion” in some time about my political viewpoints, which I understand, in their strength, can polarise people. But my goodness, it was a hearty debate, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Because do you know what? It means that people are not afraid to argue with me any more. Not afraid to upset me. I love that my my passion for things that I believe in is coming back (as I did live in a fog for a time), and I can engage in a good discussion. All of this is real, it’s life, and it’s what lets you know you are living.