As if I don’t have enough to forget, every day I am given reminders of how my life has changed. And usually not for the better.
Until not so long ago, perhaps as recently as last week, I harbored dreams of riding my bike down hills and through forests, hopping over logs and rocks that might get in my way. But just as I was blurting out to my husband my plans to polish my mountain bike and hit the open trail, he does what he does best. Destroyed me with the truth. “Now, Janet,” he said in that sing-song voice that makes me want to commit murder. “Your bones are brittle, you just finished chemotherapy and you probably don’t even own a pair of bike pants anymore.”
Gee, hit me where it hurts, why don’t you? How did I stay married to such negativity for so long?
The fine line between reality and giving up is a tightrope I walk daily.
It wasn’t that long ago that I was running in half-marathons. 13.1 miles of knee-stomping, leg hurling bliss. The feeling of exhilaration as I passed the finish line, no matter what place I was, was testament to my aliveness and my health. It may have taken my body a week or so to recover but my soul soared.
Lying on the couch after my daily afternoon nap, I mentioned to my husband that maybe it was time for me to train for another half-marathon. Cautiously rising from a prone position, my knees popped, and I winced and then heard the backdrop of my downfall. “Now, Janet, you haven’t walked without pain in 6 months, you just finished chemotherapy and you likely donated your running shoes to the Salvation Army.”
My eyes may have blurred with pain, but I hope he saw the rage and fury behind the tears.
Is this all there is to my life now? Daily reminders that I’m half the woman I was just a few months ago?
I refuse to believe this is my new normal. Rather, it’s a transition, yet the tight rope I’m walking gets more tenuous every day.
Some days it seems like all I need is a brisk walk around the neighborhood to jumpstart this body of mine. I lived in my body for 67 years before cancer, how is it possible that 6 months of treatment can knock me for a loop?
Perhaps the key to listen to my body while I let my desire yell louder.
“Hey, body, having trouble getting up that hill?” hollers my desire. “What about that bike ride and half-marathon you want to train for?”
“Have patience,” whispers my body, as it chugs up what feels like Mount Everest.
Since I’m not quite sure what a post-cancer me looks or feels like, there are days that my body’s protests are drowned out by my more constant presence of desire.
I guess what I’ll do is tread the way I want to be, rather than the way I am.