If tears are cleansing, I must be sterile…

*photo credit needed

I spent the last week crying. A lot. It wasn’t until this afternoon, after a very inspiring conversation, that I realized why. It’s been about 6 weeks since finding out I’m cancer free, but learning everything that’s needed to control stage 4 cancer is daunting, at best. Hormone therapy twice a week, monthly check ups and blood draws at medical oncology, exams every 3 months at gynecology oncology (starting next month, every 6 months, heeeyyyy), palliative intrathecal treatment, a laundry list of new meds…and a partridge in a pear tree. I even had my 2nd experience with “chemo coma”. 23 hours later I woke up feeling awful and very dehydrated.

My friend laid it out simply. “Own it. Don’t let it own you”. So, I gave it a voice. I cried over it. Then I beat its b*tch-ass in the ground. It was satisfying. Rewarding. Horrible and wonderful at the same time.

There’s so much information for newly diagnosed patients, patients just starting treatment, books on every type of cancer, how to fight chemobrain…and I bought every book on the subject and super stoked I did. But, now what? That’s where the extensive library slows dramatically. How do you move forward in your new normal? Harder question; how do you navigate those tricky waters as a stage 4 survivor? Very little. Harder still; all that, but add beating 2 cancers to the mix? There’s nothing that specific, but I’d be happy with just more information and guidance on chronic cancer. The hashtags #Stage4NeedsMore and #DontIgnoreStage4 are more accurate than I could have ever imagined. That, straight up sucks. A whole group of fighters and survivors cut out of the equation. Why? The medical profession giving up on the whole “one foot creeping too close to the grave” thing? Terminal cancer patients not worth *truly* going out on that limb? Not much use to “rearrange the deck chairs of a sinking ship”? Whatever the reason, being in the bottom end of this cancer soup has really hit me hard this last week. I just couldn’t give it a name. Today I did…

I call you out, traitorous body.

Then, I thought about it. Not just the way of thinking that you rush through and stuff down till another day. I *thought* about it. I came to grips with it. I took inventory of my *path* that was laid out in my skin like a Rand McNally map. The changes of the terrain of my body, inside and out. It destruction of dangerous roadways to make way for new, more inhabitable travels. The whole of the old scenic route gutted. This body suffered. A lot. A breast here, another there. Don’t forget the cuff of the lower cavity, bladder and bowels that were pieced back together and tucked in neatly behind a 10″ scar. An unnecessary and very large scar in lieu of 3 tiny 1″ scars. A scar that was the product of a wayward scalpel on a fairly new version of surgical technology that would make my debulking surgery less invasive and cut down on healing time. It would have been awesome had it happened like that, but that was the half full version of the process and not at all realistic. Not the time for that story…

After making all the mental tally marks, I started to see the beauty in the exposed road. It was…is new. It’s slow going and I’m not naive enough to think I’m able to rush though this process. For better or worse, this is my body. A new body. A new start. A new normal.

12:02am. 42nd year…

Btw, yes I’m aware of the bad pun in the title. My mind was taxed. It’s been a long day.