Then vs. Now

I’ve come to the conclusion that I really don’t know how to write about this actively growing cancer. When I created this page, I didn’t plan for it to be a “cancer blog” so much as stories about life. Part family, part life in general and of course part cancer because with quarterly scans, daily medication and suck-ish side effects, it really can’t be ignored.

That’s part of the problem of living with metastatic cancer. You’re never quite sure how to balance life before and life with cancer. Unfortunately, there is never life after because treatment never stops. I guess in this case, life after cancer is also known as the after-life.

But still, you find a way to keep it from the forefront because it doesn’t feel as threatening. It can be pushed back. You know it’s there but the treatment keeps it stable and in some ways, it can be ignored. Until recently, that’s where I was sort of able to keep it as I wrote about family things or baked goods or donut porn. Yes it always crept back in, because all of my life is viewed through a slightly cancerous lens, but I could make it stay there. At least when I was writing more frequently and had more on my mind.

And now?

Now it is actively growing and I find that it’s coloring everything I do or think. I spent the weekend out of town with family and I realized that every time someone mentioned a future plan, I finished the sentence in my head with “if I’m here”. I hate that I do that. I hate that I think about Mother’s day and wonder how many more I have. Very likely I’ll have many but the unknown is driving me crazy. It has since January when my scan came back with new growth.

I can feel my family watching me and I wonder if they’re thinking the same thing. My mom asked me to put my glasses back on because she doesn’t like the way my eyes look. Moms can always spot illness in their children’s eyes. SG studies me when he doesn’t think I’m looking. I don’t know if he’s wondering if I’m ever going to do anything with my crazy hair or how much more time we have.

I wonder if I should write with less honesty because I might go a little soft and tell my family about this blog someday but then I know that if I do, I will bring the cancer filter that exists in real life into this safe haven I’ve created for myself. This place where few of you actually know what I look like or care if I’ve gained a little weight.

By the way, the weight is only my surgery buffer because I know I will shed quite a bit afterwards. Kind of like people who gain weight before Survivor. Yeah, right.

So where does all this leave me and how do I write about it? How do I balance topics when the scales are tipped so heavily towards the big C? Do I go ahead and purge it all here and hope that I don’t scare you all away? Do I bite the bullet and fully embrace the title of “Cancer Blog”? Is that a limiting name?

I kind of don’t think so because there are so many of us out there and truly, the idea is to live with cancer in all it’s forms. It will still occasionally take a back seat to something stupid that I do or say because well, that happens a lot!

I saw a photo the other day on the Humans of New York Facebook page. It was a picture of a woman who had recently lost her husband. The caption was something along the lines of “I wish I had spent less time sad that he was dying and more time happy that he was still alive”.

I’m not dying, I’m simply dealing with the same old crap I’ve been facing the last 7 years. The only problem is I’ve never written during this phase. I’ll do my best to try to find the balance but please bear with me while I work things out.

Sometimes I think of adding another blog dealing strictly with issues of the chronically metastatic. With all of the wonderful drug development we are a growing bunch. That would be the one where I come clean – no anonymity. This disease needs a face. One that says, “Hey, you know that healthy looking mom sitting down at the class party? She has cancer, cut her some slack.”

Something to think about I guess.

Stupid Surgery

Alright, so here’s the thing. I feel like it’s time for a little honesty.

I’ve been trying to act all tough about this cancer and my upcoming surgery. I’ve tried to tell myself and anyone else who will listen that I’ve done it before, I’m a pro, it’s no big deal. But uh, it kind of is a huge deal and it’s freaking me out more than a little to know that I’m once again going in to be gutted.

Sure, I could say they’ll delicately open me up and debulk the tumors but really, when I wake up in recovery, it feels like “gutted” is the more accurate term.

I am ALWAYS a crabby pain in the ass in the recovery room. I wake up and I want more drugs, water, and my husband. Not necessarily in that order. I hate everyone around me and I hate the pain. It’s possible I might be a little bit of a baby.

When I met with the surgeon on Friday I acted all tough and nonchalant. He called me a veteran, asked me about prior surgeries, length of hospital stays etc. while his nurse openly gawked as I rattle off the lists of when, what and where. She really needs to work on her poker face. I tried to laugh it off and pretend I wasn’t terrified. Even my low blood pressure backed up my sense of calm.

I’m good at this. The sort of fake your way through conversations thing and act like nothing is wrong while inside it’s like I have this loose thread that is slowly being pulled until I unravel in a heap on the floor. But I never get there. At least not while anyone is looking.

Have I mentioned how much I REALLY REALLY hate surgery? I’d postpone it but the little bastards would probably kill me so I suppose it’s time to suck it up. I’m signing up to chaperone a field trip the day before. I think I’ll need the distraction.

Oh hell, at least those long cute loose dresses are in all the stores for summer. It’s amazing what you can hide under one of those. I have a feeling I’ll be hiding a lot!