I am a little anxious about the chemo question. I wish I didn’t have to wait so long for the answer.
Actually, I wish a lot of things.
My mom has asked me a few times if I feel a sense of loss without my breasts. I don’t. I’m not sure if that’s normal, or typical, or just me, but I don’t. I feel my loss in other ways. It’s not exactly a loss of innocence, either. The only way I can think to describe it, is that it is a loss of trust. I don’t trust my body, don’t trust the cancer. I am finding it hard to believe that the cancer is gone. My body is healing, but in my moments of grief and despair, I imagine it healing around cancer cells that have somehow escaped, found their way into deeply hidden dark secret spots between blood and bone, tissue and muscle. How will I ever know for sure that the cancer is gone?
I think the answer is I won’t.
And so I have mixed feelings about the chemo. As much as I want to hear chemo won’t help me, I am terrified to let it go. It’s like walking away from an extended warranty. It’s a gamble. At least that’s how it seems to me. I don’t know how this is going to play out, I don’t know if the Oncotype DX results will come back with a definitive answer or more questions. I won’t know anything until at least Monday — an eternity.
Waiting is hard.
I tell myself the worst of it is over. No matter what happens, the hardest piece of it is in the past, but I don’t entirely trust that either.
The funny/strange thing is: I have a new body. Thanks to cancer (and modern medicine!), I have 23 — not 53 — year old breasts and a flat stomach. When I’m feeling down, I try to picture all the great clothes I’ll be able to wear. I’m shallow enough that it sometimes helps to pull me out of a mood. I keep thinking about this bathing suit I left in California. The top never fit me right, but I’m sure it will now. I see myself sitting by the pool, wearing that suit, not a care in the world.
Imagining another life, a future, helps. But always, the cancer creeps back in.
I remind myself it’s still so new, so fresh. As time passes, it will get easier. Grief changes over time, but it doesn’t ever go away. It stops being something you wake up to every day and slowly becomes a sadness you forget you are carrying around. Like the lipstick that falls to the bottom of your handbag. It’s there — but you don’t remember to use it very often.
So now there is little to do but wait.
And think about things that are not so serious, like warm weather and new clothes. And lipsticks that fall to the bottom of the bag.