I think this winter broke the camel’s back.
This morning my husband — without any prompting from me — said he would move to San Luis Obispo if he could get a full-time teaching job at Cal Poly. Even though I know it’s just talk, it’s the kind of conversation that fills my heart with hope. “I’ll get a job on campus and you can retire,” I told him.
“Is it expensive to live there?” he asked.
“Not like here,” I said.
It is no secret that this is my dream. And while I have no idea if my dream will come true, if moving back to the west coast — my beloved Central Coast — is even a possibility, just hearing him say he’s up for it is enough to make me fall in love with him all over again.
Saturday was a long day. I had a hair appointment and then we went to the diner for dinner. I had a strange burst of energy in the afternoon, but was in bed by 8:30. This morning my body aches and I am debating whether or not to take a pain pill. Tuesday will be three weeks. I’ve made a lot of progress, but I still can’t easily do everything I want to do. I thought I might try a little grocery shopping today, but I have to leave it to the boys.
It felt good to get out yesterday, to do something nice for myself. As soon as the sidewalks are less icy and easier to navigate, I’m going to start walking up to the gym. I know I can’t do much, but even that short walk followed by 10 or 15 minutes on the treadmill, will make a big difference right now. I have a list of stretching exercises that I hope my trainer can help me with and this week I’ll make that PT appointment. I feel better when I move, but I just don’t have any stamina. Walking and talking at the same time leaves me breathless. I have a long way to go in terms of getting my strength back.
I’m hopeful, too, that I’ll be able to start driving again soon. I think if I continue to improve this week, I’ll be able to take on short local trips before too long. For now, I have to leave school drop offs and pick ups to family and friends. The strangest part of being in the car is the seatbelt. It just feels weird. I’ve been using the stuffed teddy bear my son got me for Valentine’s Day as a buffer…but driving with a bear on my lap is probably not a great idea.
I have a few small goals for this week, but mostly I want the weather to improve. I need to get outside more, to breathe in fresh air, to walk and get stronger. I miss feeling the sun on my face, and honestly, as much as I love my house — our comfortable little home — I am desperate to look at something other than the inside of these rooms.
I keep wondering how this experience will change me. Will I suddenly get the desire to surf? Or become a cyclist? Will I finish that novel? Or start a new career? Surviving this feels like an opportunity for a do-over, It seems like a waste to go back to being who I was.
Maybe that’s a good enough reason to hold on to my California dream, to picture myself standing on the cliffs at Montano de Oro, watching the fog roll in over the water. Dreams are a powerful thing. When I see my future, see myself where I hope to be, I can imagine that this will all be behind me soon.
So, yes, when my husband — even jokingly — agrees to follow my heart, I can let myself believe that cancer isn’t going to be my life.