Due to my mom’s incessant nagging, I finally left my house today and acted like a normal human being for about 20 alternately blissful and miserable minutes. I pinned my little drain buddies to the inside of my blouse, put on jeans (JEANS! Holy crap, you guys!) and walked my dog around the block. It was a gorgeous day – 75 and sunny, as usual around here – but I still felt incredibly sorry for myself. Pretending like I didn’t just have life-altering surgery and I’m not gearing up for the most miserable six months of my short life while my body is pumped full of heart-damaging, nausea-inducing poison is kind of exhausting, and it also just serves to remind me how far I’ve come from normal.
Okay, so I’m throwing a bit pity party for myself today, but I have no reason to. What’s happening to me sucks, but it doesn’t suck any worse than what millions of other people are enduring every single day. Whether it’s a disease – cancer, AIDS, Alzheimers, MS, Parkinsons, there’s no shortage of terrible ones – or a death in the family or the loss of a limb or a function, life is full of hurdles for each and every one of us. It never ceases to amaze me, the strength that we posses inside. People have called me brave, but I wouldn’t call it that, unless you think developing a Mexican food addiction and watching 200 episodes of Law & Order as a coping mechanism is bravery. It’s the ability to bear this burden at all, however ungracefully, that keeps me in awe of the human spirit.
I guess all those hours watching the Oprah Winfrey Network are really sinking in.
Truth be told, in fact, the worst thing happening to me right now is some moderate pain at my drainage sites and the fact that I can only sleep on my back. Prior to this incident, I don’t think I’d slept on my back for a day in my life, and now I know why: It’s massively uncomfortable, and I feel like I’m in a coffin. I wake up with the spine of an 80-year-old every morning. The day I can sleep on my stomach again, if it ever comes, will be the happiest day of my life. I truly think it will outrank the day I was admitted to college for sheer euphoria and relief. If you need some evidence for just how utterly devoid of joy my life is now, remember that the thing I’m most looking forward to in this world is changing my sleeping position.
I’m sorry that I haven’t been updating as much, but things are more or less in a holding pattern until the next steps are taken on Wednesday. Unlike most other terrifying things, cancer is slow. It’s not a quick adrenalin rush. It’s months and months of testing, waiting, re-testing and waiting more, punctuated by short bursts of excitement like a drain pull or a surgery or a few hours in the chemo chair. It drags on and on. But when I get really down in the dumps, I just remember: All of this should be done by my 26th birthday.
By my 26th birthday on October 18, 2013, I’ll have some short new hair, some nice new boobies and not a drop of chemo in my body. I hope you’ll all be ready for a trip to Vegas. Now that I never need to wear a bra again, I’ve got a nice backless dress picked out.