For the first time since I was diagnosed, there are real things I have trouble doing. I get breathless coming up a flight of stairs and have to stop. So how come I am supposed to be redefining myself as a person who may no longer have cancer and yet I am unable to DO THINGS! No fever yet in about thirty-six hours so I'm on track for pulmonary tests and chemo tomorrow, but what I really want to do is go see Robots
with Bob and I find myself hesitating because--get this--I'd have to climb stairs at the movie theater. I think we'd rather skip the movie than sit in the front row. I know, I know, I can take as long as I want to climb the stairs and there's no reason to be embarassed, but I've always been a TAB* before and it's hard to adjust.
That redefinition idea. When I was first diagnosed I couldn't bring myself to say I was sick, because in fact, I felt no such thing. I felt great. I was working out, I'd lost some weight. I just had this diagnosis. Then chemo zapped me into the land of the sick. I started the blog. Part of my identity became that I had cancer. My goal, of course, was for part of my identity to become a person who once
had cancer and I was hoping to become a bit wiser for the experience. (My big life goal for years has been to become a Wise Woman, but I've decided that is always a work in progress.)
So now I am moving into 'person in remission' (I hope) and I'll have to learn if that means I'm always aware that I am suspended between sickness and health or if I find myself walking away from Hodgkins, optimistic that I am well. People on the Hodgkin's list serve have talked about how some can't stop checking themselves, nervously feeling for enlarged lymph nodes. I don't know what I'm going to be like. I know what I'd like to be like, but hell, I'd like to be taller.
But that's all really hard to do when I can't catch my breath. I'd stomp around except I get all out of breath when I do that. Normally I'd be taking decongestants and cold medication but my doctor wants me on a drug holiday to see if 1. I have no fever and 2. how bad toxic side effects really are without using stuff to control them. Easy for him to say. (Virtual stomp, stomp, stomp. I am stomping around, blackly here, shaking my fist impotently at fate and since this is all virtual, I don't look silly, okay?)
I used to have a button attached to my cubicle back before I married and could stop being a wage slave. It said, 'Oh No, Not Another Learning Experience.' This is probably Good For Me. It will teach me Empathy and Compassion. (Especially while driving where I have no patience for people who drive slower than me.) But like most learning experiences, I'd rather skip the experiencing part.
Stomp stomp stomp.
(*TAB: Temporarily Able Bodied. It's the opposite of disabled, and takes into account that most of us will be disabled somehow, somewhere, sometime, if we only live long enough.)