Yesterday I was about to take Cooper for his after dinner stroll. It was 5:45. I looked out the window, and, lo and behold…it wan’t pitch black!!!! Yippeee, the dark days of winter are behind us, or 11 months ahead of us, however you want to look at it. Either way, we are coming out of the dark. And so, you know me, my head dreams up metaphors.
This past holiday season was so easy. We didn’t take a trip, which we’ve done the past three years. The kids picked out a white pine Christmas tree. These trees are fluffy and soft, but not really meant for ornaments. So, we gave in. We put on lights and some baubbly garland and called it good. It was beautiful in a different way. I left some decorations in their boxes and never missed seeing them out. Probably took me less than two hours to decorate and just a little more to put things away. Easy. Yes, we entertained at our house one day…my side of the family. But, we had soup and pizza. Easy. Still, each holiday, there’s a thin sheet over my own happiness. It isn’t that I’m not a kid anymore and Christmas has lost its magic. It isn’t that I don’t have wee children anymore counting on me to make the magic. It isn’t, in fact, that Christmas itself isn’t truly magical. It is, it seems, that there is always a worry. This year, my scan was scheduled for January 3rd. Way too close to the holiday season. It was just too difficult to smile and say, “I’m fine…scans are clear” when the scans were from July. It was too difficult to really enjoy those cookies thinking that maybe there were tumors they were feeding.
But, now the scans are behind me. Yes, I needed a CT and then a PET. That was only because I’ll never have another CT and they needed to be able to get a “baseline” PET when the CT showed stability. I’ve developed an iodine allergy and so cannot receive the dye needed for a good contrast CT. Just a reminder that each of these tests comes with a price beyond cash. But, they’re behind me for now. Next one isn’t even scheduled. Yes, like winter, I’ve now come out of the dark.
For a few months now, my steps will be lighter. My head will seem clearer. I can think about Maria turning 13, Anna 16, Jake 21, and my marriage 25! What a year! I have trips to warm places planned. I hope to plan more 🙂
I hope to get my dog some training. Plant more berry bushes. Clean all the clothes from the 90s out of my closets. Sort through some of the towels and sheets we’ve had for 25 years. (thanks to you all for such lasting wedding gifts!) I plan to finish the book “An Everlasting Meal” and learn to apply some of its ideas. (don’t throw away the tops or bottoms of veggies you’ve steamed or eaten raw, save them to make vegetable broth…etc). I hope to get a counter top compost thingy. Replace some carpet. My head is out of the dark!
And, while I’ve got you thinking about clearing your own cobwebs, can I ask one simple thing? When you see a friend…maybe me…that has a “condition”, please don’t ask them how they feel right off the bat. Who wants to hear that? The only time that was a welcome question to me was when I was nine months pregnant. Simply, “hey, what’s new?” or the usual “how are you?” opens the door for someone to update you if they choose to. But, sometimes, all we want is to say hello to you in the grocery store. Do you really want to know how I’m feeling? Perfectly healthy! Better than I’ve felt in years! Nervous as hell that the next time I see the oncologist, she is gonna feel something! Totally angry that I keep gaining weight! There. Out of the dark with that. For now, just let me be your friend. Not your friend with cancer. I’ll let you know when I need help. Thanks!
So, the birds are singing…I even had flies in my yard yesterday. But, it isn’t spring yet. We still have snow and cold ahead of us. Isn’t it a bit easier to enjoy when the days are a tad longer? When the sunshine pokes through the clouds? It really is a relief to come out of the dark…
Well, I stole the line from Gloria Estefan, so I feel obligated to link you, should you be interested….