So You’re Done, Right?
Next week is my last chemo infusion. It will be one year and thirteen days after my very first poison drip. Everybody keeps smiling at me and exclaiming that I must be really excited.
Excited is not a word that has populated my vocabulary for quite a while now.
I am glad I will not have to go back to the hospital once every three weeks and sit with a needle stuck in my body. I am glad I will not have to get echocardiograms once every three months. I am glad the port will be out. I’m glad.
And at the same time I feel nothing. The last two years with their two cancers numbed me down to a puppet that performs the motions while carefully making sure that the molten lava core of emotions stays safely cocooned in its nest.
I wake up every day scared. Scared about the future. Sometimes I can’t even get up.
I am like a car that suddenly wouldn’t start one day and after two years of repairs, I sit in the driver’s seat, wondering every day if the car will start, how it will run and whether or not it will break down out of the blue again.
I am not done as others would like to believe. I still have further treatments and surgeries, reconstructions, medications, tests, scans, doctor’s appointments and nail biting result readings. It will never be over like a broken leg’s occasional ache.
I lost all the confidence in the future.
I lost all my trust in life.
I don’t wake up every day grateful for the day like the TV cancer survivors. I don’t cherish every moment.
I don’t know how.
Instead, I wake up and fear grips me. I push it to the edges of my mind, get up and go through my day. I laugh at jokes, make smart-ass comments, do my job, take my dog out, answer people’s questions. At the same time the anxious and icy river circulates through my body, cooling every genuine feeling of happiness.
I heard a song and one line said ‘Can you help me remember how to smile…’
I need that. I need someone or something to help me remember how to smile the old way. The easy way. The real way.
I wrote this poem/song not long ago about the whole thing: