Normalcy is Golden

I’ve been so lazy about this blog. I should have posted on June 13th, when I had my port removed. I asked to keep it, and they let me. I was surprised that, before they let me, they made it clear that they thought I was nuts. Also, that it was gross, what I wanted to do. I just assumed that everybody wanted to keep their ports after they are removed. I mean, a lot of people want to keep them in their BODIES, even when they don’t need them anymore. Why did they look at me like I had six heads, because I wanted to keep mine after it was removed?

My port gave me a lot of drama, but it also was the means by which I got my treatment. It also saved me a lot of needle sticks in my arms. For two and a half years, we went everywhere together. I hoarded lidocaine cream like it was my job (just the thought of having the port accessed without numbing it first could reduce me to tears–IT’S A HUGE NEEDLE STUCK IN YOUR CHEST. IT’S AS PAINFUL AS IT SOUNDS!!) To be honest, the thought of going anywhere without Cranky Port kind of freaked me out. It felt really weird for a while, to go somewhere, and leave my port in the other room…I’ve since gotten over it.

Actually, I didn’t realize how much that piece of plastic and tubing impacted my physical wellbeing and comfort until it was removed. Once it was out, I could MOVE better. My quality of life is definitely better without it). Cranky Port may have been a total drama queen, but it was also my “friend”, and friends do not belong in the trash. No, friends belong stashed in the pouch where I keep my iPod. I told you life after cancer is weird.

portyport.jpg

port

I should have posted two days ago, when I had my 2 year anniversary of finishing chemo. I didn’t, because I didn’t remember until today.

All this laziness and forgetting makes me feel so very, very normal. I had a long, wonderful summer day today. Morning Coffee with a dear friend,and then performing and hanging out at DC Fringe until 10 at night. Now, I’m super tired, and relishing the air conditioning. I think I’ll get back to surfing Facebook and watching Food Network. Then, I’ll go to sleep in my quiet bed, and wake up to a brand new day tomorrow, full of possibilities. No needles. No chemo. No cutting. No pain. Feeling fine.

But thinking as always…I was explaining to a friend tonight, how thoughts of cancer are always in my mind. Like anything else that nags my brain constantly, I’ve learned to ignore the thoughts, when I need to.

I was so grateful this morning at coffee, to be able to let them take center stage for a while. S’s sister is in cancer treatment at Mercy. We have the same surgeon. She’s been in treatment for over a year, and recently had a scan that showed active cancer still in her body. She’s doing okay, muscling her way through round 2 of a new chemo regimen, as crappy as that is. She didn’t join us for coffee, as she was feeling too tired. S said that they were on their way out the door, when V made the final decision to stay home. It’s a tune I know so well. She wanted to be there, but her body has limitations right now. I struggled so much with my own debilitation during chemo–both the physical and emotional.

S is scared about the future. Nobody can tell her that everything is going to be okay, and the truth is, things might not be, in the end. She’s heard more than her share of gloom and doom since her sister relapsed a few weeks ago, and in this past year of navigating the world of the cancer caregiver. V is starting to discuss the possibility that she might not be cured, that she might not live to be old. S told me that she lied to her sister, and said that everything was going to be okay. She said she was surprised that those words came out of her mouth. She worries so much about whether V can handle the reality of her situation, that she doesn’t stop to consider that she censors, due to her own fears.

As usual, V is full of surprises for her sister. She wants to talk about the hard stuff. She wants to go there. She needs to go there. Of course she does. Her fears need to be legitimized. Otherwise, she might survive the cancer, but die of loneliness. S and I talked about death. She wanted to know if I thought about it while I was in treatment. I told her that I still do, every day. I told her about how I’m gathering little gems and pearls for the people who are important to me in my life. That way, if we’re ever in a situation where I am dying, I’ll have gifts to leave with each of them, to make them feel how special they are. I know that my sister will need a good laugh, so I’m saving a super embarrassing, ridiculous story for her, about the ONE time I got high. I’d want her to think of me and laugh.

It’s so fucking hard to live like this. It’s so fucking hard to watch amazing women like S and V deal with cancer 24/7, but that’s not nearly as hard as HAVING cancer. Never lose sight of that. My emotions are so close to the surface. We held hands and cried together at Society Fair in Old Town. The tall, dark, and handsome dude who was chatting with S while she was waiting for me to get there, got up and left quickly. He must have thought we were a couple of crazy lesbians. As S likes to say: “Who the fuck cares?”

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