The Mirage of Normalcy

Henry Fuseli: The Nightmare

Henry Fuseli: The Nightmare

I checked my email and clicked on the attachment – a questionnaire that included my medical history from the past five years.

My eyes skimmed the page and halted at the box that had “Any kind of cancer” written next to it.

I felt a mix of emotions wash over me, with anger and sadness dominating the bunch. I clenched my teeth and pressed my lips together.

I was so sick of that. Constantly repeating my two cancer saga, listing all my surgeries, explaining how it was found, what was done, what the prognosis was.

I wanted to rip the paper in pieces. I didn’t want anyone else to know! Why did I have to drag this cancer shit with me? Leaving a pathway like a snail. Dribbling drops of water like a leaky pouch. Dragging mud into the clean house on the soles of the shoes.

I was done with it! I worked so hard to block it out of my life and push it to the fringes of my brain. Now this stupid questionnaire brought it all back to the light. It opened the black box of tar and molasses and sticky problems. God, I felt so stupid for thinking I could actually live a normal life. And FORGET about it.

I realized that I have tried to avoid something that permeated my existence even after its physical presence was gone. Like a hard slap on my hand that I kept feeling long after the perpetrator has gone. Why did I think I could get away from it?

I see my hair in the mirror every day. So why did I think that the new chic cut and color will make me forget why my hair is as short as it is?

I buy expensive bras on my silicone, larger-than-before-cancer breasts but then I sit in the movies watching 50 Shades of Grey knowing I will NEVER feel again what the heroine feels.

I go outside to play in the snow with my dog and within a few minutes my fingertips hurt so bad from chemo induced neuropathy that I want to punch the wall in anger. I HATE these cancer intimations. I don’t know how to get away from them.

I hear a phone voicemail oncologist appointment reminder and I have to pinch the bridge of my nose because I feel the tears rushing to my eyes. My throat closes up and I sit frozen, thinking about how I will have to walk into the office and be immersed in CANCER.

I scroll through Facebook and find that four of my vibrant young friends have had a re-occurrence. I remember their faces, their smiles and how healthy they looked. I throw things across the room, I punch a pillow and then I just cry. Why won’t this go away?

I think about the visits to the counselor and how they didn’t help. Normalcy is just a stupid mirage that shimmers in the distance while I run to it, panting like a dog, my eyes wide, anticipation high, only to fall down on the black asphalt and realize….hey, THIS is your reality.

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