Two years ago, yesterday, I showed up alone (bad move) at the cancer center for results to a CT scan, and got a nasty surprise — tumors found on my lungs. I learned that my existence on this planet was no longer under warranty. Actually, I learned the biggest secret of all — that no one is covered under warranty, that that’s just something we sort of assume if we’re ever going to manage to get out of bed in the morning.
It’s been a hell of a two years since then. But it hasn’t actually been hell all the time. I’ve been lucky. I’ve met a lot of amazing people. I’ve been helped by people I’ve never met. I’ve gotten to know or learned about many people living with cancer. And I’ve mourned people who didn’t get to survive. I’ve raised money for research. I’ve learned how to advocate for myself in the face of monolithic health care bureaucracy, and how to manage the side effects of my medication, about which there is still very little understanding among medical professionals. I learned there is a pharmacy at the Vatican, and it’s one of the busiest in the world. I’ve sung as part of a feral choir, backing up one of my favorite bands in the world.
I’ve also spent a lot of time in bed. My mattress and I have a very deep and complicated bond. It isn’t the healthiest relationship, because my bed is a classic enabler. And it’s so hard to break up with the place where you spent your very hardest moments. (Also? You need to sleep in your bed, every night.) I’m aiming to forge a new relationship with my bed, a more professional one, hopefully. Wish me luck.
And — since I don’t do this enough — I want to thank you. Yes, you there, reading this. You didn’t have to, but you did. That means a lot.