I have this theory that the world is continually spinning away from its tipping point. Either that, or there is some strange cosmic balancing act in play, the kind of thing you have to look very closely to see. Some might say it is the hand of God, moving from one moment to the next, I tend to think of it as something less holy than that, something more man-made, though not exactly within man’s control.
I’ve been in a good place — physically, emotionally — since my trip to Denver. I’ve been relaxed, happy, looking forward to the holidays. I have accepted every invitation and attended every party I’ve been invited to. I am, more so this year than any other in recent memory, living in the moment, enjoying my family and friends, working to be present, to honor the second life I’ve been given.
And yet, within these moments, there are lingering feelings of something a little dark, a worry that things could change again — without warning, without cause. I guess that’s part of the balancing act. Holding back that small, smoldering flame of fear.
As much as I come here to sort out my thoughts, there are things I haven’t shared. Stories I haven’t felt are mine to tell. One of those stories runs parallel to my own. Someone I love very much, someone who means the world to me, was diagnosed with breast cancer just a couple weeks before I was diagnosed. Our surgeries were February 10th in New York (mine) and February 11th in LA (hers). We recovered side by side, 3,000 miles apart. On Thursday, she had a stroke. Her doctors think the stroke may have been directly tied to the drug tamoxifen.
I’m not even sure what to say about that. I know there is a family history of strokes, so that could have been a factor. I don’t think anyone will ever be able to say for sure exactly what happened. I know millions of women take tamoxifen without a problem. But in this odd parallel universe, tamoxifen proved not to be the drug for us. For very different reasons, with very different outcomes.
The thing that sticks with me the most is the fact that “recovery” is a never-ending process. There are setbacks all along the way — emotionally, and physically. And it is incredibly difficult to hold back the fear. And so I have two choices: I can live my life with that pervasive worry hanging over me, or I can just embrace the life I have. People, I am working so hard to embrace the life I have. But don’t for one minute think that means I’m okay.
Because I’m pretty sure I will never be okay again.