For those of you hooked up with me on Facebook via my professional page and my non-profit Project Pink, you know that I had scans this week. The results are in.
The good news: there’s been no new growth of the cancer. All the tumors are still there but they haven’t gotten bigger. That’s great.
The bad news: there’s been no new shrinkage of the cancer. All tumors are still there and they haven’t gotten any smaller. That’s not great.
So: now what?
Medically, I’ll stick to my present weekly regimen of Taxol, the chemotherapy I’ve been taking weekly since March. I just finished my 18th round yesterday. My doctor will consult with colleagues and the likelihood that I’ll need to get on a stronger chemo is on the horizon–but stay tuned. I just don’t know yet.
Physically, I’ll keep up my workouts–I did SPIN class at noon today–and I’ll keep up the vegan/no dairy/no sugar regime I’ve been on for two years. It’s making me stronger outside and that helps keep me stronger on the inside, emotionally…
..and that leads me to the emotional plan. Now what?
Recently I’ve had more than one group of people in my life look at me quizzically as they search to understand how I do this. How do I keep up the smiles, the training sessions, the laughter, the writing–when, to their mind, I should be scared as hell and, well I’m not really sure what else they think–but they don’t “get” my “f@ck what they studies say, I got this” attitude.
The reality is that I’m not always smiling. But you know how Facebook works–nobody’s out there snapping photos of their mental break down and posting with their status “today I almost killed myself.” And that’s where much of the “rose colored glasses” confusion begins.
I didn’t take a photo of it, but today I broke down during spin class as I digested the news I’d received a half hour earlier regarding my scans. I cried right there as I pedaled away. I took the long white towel meant to wipe off my sweat and wiped my tears away instead.
But I kept peddling. And that’s when I snapped the photo.
To anyone wondering why, I answer: and what else might you think I do? What’s the alternative? HIghlight the negative? My whole existence now is a negative. I wake up every day re-diagnosed with cancer. That’s how trauma works: it comes back every morning to rip your heart out and let you spend the next waking hours trying to stuff it back inside your devastated body.
All I know is, to let cancer kill me before I’m dead is like giving the ax murderer a knife sharpener. So to give my personal grief more air time via social media is a knife-sharpener I ain’t about to hand out.
But let me be clear: my life is not easy, and I have bad days. But I have more strength in me than all those bad days strung together. And to those who wonder where is my strength coming from I answer I have no f#cking idea.
Here’s a suggestion: stop trying to understand me. Cheer me on or shake your head in disbelief–but stop trying to figure me out.
Just believe in me. Hold on with me.
And if you can’t do that, just keep pedaling with me.