I’m wondering if this is the best or worst time of year to be anxiously awaiting further news on my condition. On the plus side, there’s food! Drink! And general dopiness on parade!
I’ve been a little bit unwell for a couple weeks – not cancer-related, but maybe a little lagniappe from the steroids. Despite having (over-?) shared here about medical stuff, I won’t be specific. Hopefully I will come out of it soon, because the discomfort and associated anxiety has been getting a little too familiar.
I went for a walk around the park loop today, when it was unseasonably warm and so sunny I remembered my sunglasses had broken and I haven’t replaced them, because I don’t set foot in stores this time of year. I was enjoying the solitude and listening to music as I watched the park fill with eager exercisers (myself included) trying to compensate for holiday excesses.
As I went along I suddenly heard a voice behind me say, “I’m gonna whack you on your butt so you better be you.” Then, a whack on my butt. It was a neighborhood friend, G, jogging past, and I was so surprised I couldn’t manage a word, but burst out laughing as she turned around. (G is one of only about two or three people I know who could get away with something like that.) It made my morning.
Later on, we took the kids to the park for some ball playing. Without my sunglasses the sun was just blinding, and my earlier exercise had left me feeling like I was wearing lead shoes. I tried playing for a while, but started feeling uncomfortable and had to sit down on a bench. Young A tried to keep me company, but the allure of a day to run around outdoors was too great.
Watching my family function without me reminded me of an outing we’d taken last year, when I was first diagnosed with melanoma, hadn’t yet had surgery, and was walking around with the knowledge of something lethal lurking just under the skin – and it was on my back, so I felt like it was always kind of pursuing me.
That morning, early spring, we’d gone to a sculpture park in another part of the city, and as J and the kids walked there from the car I dropped back and watched them from a distance, trying to assess how they’d do without me. Trying to prepare myself for not being part of that unit anymore. I wasn’t upset, it felt more practical than anything, this way of thinking. A means of self-preservation.
And indeed, since I first got sick, I do have moments where I just need to withdraw and let things happen without me. Sometimes there is the excuse of physical pain or discomfort. But sometimes, it’s simply a need to not engage, to not participate, to let the galaxy swirl as I watch from a distance. I haven’t verbalized this to J before, but I think he gets it. (Do you, honey?)
The coming week will be about distraction, distraction and more distraction. The kids are off school, we’ll take a trip to see my family, and when we’re back we’ll have Young J’s rescheduled birthday party.
By the time I get to my CT scan, a week from Monday, I’ll be exhausted, more than ready to lie down and have someone else tell me how and when to breathe.