Thanks to global warming, this December 3 – my own personal designated cancer D-Day – feels nothing like the corresponding day two years ago when I realized I was facing a battle with this truly mean-spirited disease. Hence, no weather-triggered PTSD. Instead, it’s a cool, dry, breezy day and I feel, for the most part, pretty effing good.
I went out at lunch time and bought myself a new pair of running shoes. I got killer, laid-back service from an adorable fellow at Philadelphia Runner, who even listened patiently while I tried to describe the indescribable feelings associated with the neuropathy in my feet (“It’s feels like they’re…wrapped in something…like there’s something there…like cotton…”) After forty-five minutes of walking back and forth across the shop in three different pairs, I finally settled on the Puma Ventis; can’t wait to try them out tomorrow morning.
I figured treating myself to a new pair of running shoes was a good way to mark this date, and say FUCK YOU! to cancer. Every day, I am amazed at how good I feel.
Still, right now, I am sad and angry as hell. I just learned that a friend’s cancer has recurred for the second time, and surgery and possibly more chemo are on the horizon. She’s a tough cookie -WAY tougher than I was when I was diagnosed – and I am continually amazed at her strength and composure. Still, when she shared this news with me – just as I was caught in a kind of hazy emotional twilight thanks to my own cancer-versary – I had to cry a little and hug her extra-hard, because it is all just so stupid and meaningless and wrong.
So fuck you very much, cancer. Tomorrow morning, I will beat you into the ground with my new shoes while I run extra hard in honor of my friend, and the fight that lies ahead for her. Just don’t think for one stinking minute that you have won.
POST SCRIPT (9 PM, EST):
It’s several hours later now, and I feel compelled to say that I’ve had a wonderful evening with my husband. We left work together, and I was thankfully able to shed some of the day’s clinging heaviness. Once home, we shared gin and tonics, and had a great little jam session on the upright before heading out to dinner (at my request) to mark the end of this significant – but no longer debilitating – day.
It’s impossible to escape the dark emotions which caught me up earlier today as I contemplated my friend’s situation, and thought about how life has been turned upside down since my own diagnosis. But to be able to breathe some of it out, and let the music and laughter and light in, is a critical skill, one which I am always relieved to see I still possess, after everything, and in spite of it all.