It’s been a long time since I’ve sat down and thought over what needs to be said to myself. Because that’s what this is, a note to self. So I don’t forget why I’m doing this.
Because I’m back in chemotherapy, starting next week. And surgery again to put the port back in.
Yeah, it came roaring back, that bad ol’ bitch. Just as I thought ‘Spring…time for planting.’ ‘Summer. It won’t be like last summer. I’ll walk everywhere, maybe get a little color in my face and go back to work full time.’ and, worst of all, ‘In the Fall, I’ll take a train trip to New Orleans. See New York City and D.C. Visit some Civil War sites and pay my respects.’
That’s what I thought was going to happen.
Then the numbers jumped up a lot in March. We tried oral cancer treatment. It had no effect and the numbers jumped to the 1000’s…so I go back into the chair. Back to the 8th floor. Back to sun sensitivity, exhaustion and neuropathy and side effects like losing my hair.
I can’t work enough to not be desperately poor. I can’t walk very far. I’m tired. Not physically as much as mentally. I sit and look out the window at the grass and birds and I can’t imagine ever feeling well enough to want…to want more. I want BIG things. I want travel and parties and dinners out and road trips and friends sitting around drinking and talking…I WANT my life back.
I want to WANT to go to karaoke sing and make people laugh. I want to WANT to go to Seattle and roam around the amazing brew pubs and fantastic restaurants. I want to WANT to go out dancing in high heels, drink cocktails, and look up surprised to find out it’s closing time. I just want those things to seem enticing again.
Instead, I lean out the window and listen to birds. I watch the sun pass overhead and I lie in bed and get my head straight. I don’t want any of those things. Not those big things. Not really. I just want to be clear. To be very clear. I need to accept this.
All the plans I made…they’re still there. I can do them. Just not this summer.
I am ready for this. It took a while to get there mentally. I spent the last couple of months wondering what I had in my life that made this fight important. Not just to forestall the grief of my family. Why am I fighting? Me?
Seriously. You think of these things.
Is it worth it? What do I have to live for? How long do I have? What if I’m dying? Have I done everything I can, everything I want to do?
It’s not a question of self pity. Far from it. These are questions you ask so when it gets bad you know why you’re doing it. You need to be very, very clear as to why you’re fighting so hard. You can pull these hopes and dreams of the future out of the back of your mind and shine them up. Look them over. I already know why I’m doing this. Now I know.
Because some things are worth living for that are small and manageable.
Things like a small, clear stream tumbling over rocks.
It’s cool in the shade and it sounds beautiful. That’s my sketch pad there.
The smell of coffee, a chestnut tree in full bloom, train whistles, and dog smiles.
Chet Baker, a new book that catches you right away, fresh oysters and cold dry rose wine.
Patios and umbrellas. Grass under my feet, peaches, the sound of a motorcycle roaring past, an open winding road with the ocean crashing nearby, sweet peas…there are so many things.
I needed to accept that I’m not getting better. Not yet, anyway. I needed to find the things around me that replace the big things. So, I’ll take it.
Today, I started with a cat nudge.