There are days when I just can’t find the nerve.
They are encased in laundry loads and grocery trips, in drop-offs at school, in the surprise meetings I have at Target with the mother-of-my-son’s-friend, in the casual “hey” wave I give friends from the side of the street as I drive past the school crosswalk. The honest-to-goodness smile I find to show that reminds me I am okay, that I’ll be okay. But inside, if they only knew how I was feeling–
Because this is the tape playing in my head: “What if I’m not here to do this shopping next year? What if another woman takes my place? What if my belief that I’m beating this beast is bullsh-t? What if this pain in my chest isn’t just being 46, but progressing cancer? What if?”
But damned if I show them.
Sure I’m saying it in a blog, but trust me, people can’t remember. They have too much going on, too much goodness in their lives (which they must celebrate!), too much pain, too much confusion–to remember mine. And I’m glad. Who needs more sadness? Friggin’-A, I sure wouldn’t want it.
And here’s another perspective: if they knew, if they only knew– it might give my awful fear life. It might make it grow in me, let it take over–and I’ll be DAMNED if I give it that satisfaction–ever.
Like anybody else going through a life-altering trauma, the feelings I have as a cancer fighter can’t be known all the time. If they were they’d blow every latte, every dinner, every cocktail and every walk I take with a pal. They’d suck the life out of every laugh.
It would turn every hey-good-to-see-you into a fearful, fragile, you-are-victim oh-sh-t-what-do-I-say moment that this Cancer Honey can’t do. I refuse to be roadkill on a tragedy highway–ain’t gonna happen. Place your orange hazard cone somewhere else.
Which leaves me thumbing a ride on the Hope Highway– on a remote, random, who-knows-why-it-was-today day–like today.
So I’m watching the clock and looking for midnight. That’s usually the dark time of night but for this Cancer Maven it’s the bright side–as in, this day is over. A new day has begun. And I, for one, don’t plan to be waving my sorry thumb off the side of Sad Road tomorrow.
I am going to beat this thing–and I don’t just mean cancer. I mean sadness, fear.
And all of you on this damn horrible road with me, cancer or not–please know this–I will do it,
and you will, too.