art · community · fortitude · friends · fun · say yes · vulnerability

Ain’t Dead Yet

Last night, I went to a Halloween party. Like a normal
I did fancy glitter make-up on my face, pretended my
dress could pass as a 60s throw-back, donned my friend’s blue wig, and called
myself a psychedelic stewardess (as they were called in the 60s, pre-politically corrected “flight
It was amazing. It felt like normal. Like something a normal
person would do the weekend of Halloween – get dressed up, go to a party. It’s
something that has felt nearly unattainable for me after the whole cancer
thing – normal. I danced. I danced a
lot. I laughed, talked with friends, and it
wasn’t about my cancer. Sure, a few people asked me how I was feeling, and
if there was anything they could do, but for the most part, the people there had no
idea the blue wig covered a shaved head. They just saw a girl at a party – and
I am grateful for it.
Part of the anomaly of being so sick is that sometimes my health is what’s top of my mind, and it’s immediately what I talk about when people call or visit.
Sometimes it’s top of their minds, and they want to know about it. But … sometimes, I just want to know what the heck else is going on in the world. I mean, I didn’t even
know the Giants were in the World Series. (Though, I remain partial to the NY
teams, ahem.)
I want to know how your new job is, or your relationship, or
what happened with that thing. I want to talk about something other than
CANCER. It’s so overarching and undergirding that it feels hard to get away
from, and just talk normally. That’s part of the “watching Ben Stiller movies”
thing I was questioning yesterday – am I allowed to still have normal
conversations, activities?
Thank G-d, as shown yesterday, YES. As I painted a star over
my eye yesterday and asteroids on my cheek (despite a weird double-vision thing I have that the
doctor tells me “will resolve itself”…) — I felt
like my old self. Engaged in an activity I love.
I do feel the guillotine though. I go back into the hospital a
week from tomorrow, and it’s hard to not feel like my days are numbered. It’s
hard to not get defensive in advance. I don’t want to go back. I don’t want to
do this 4 more times. And yet, this is what they know to do to cure cancer, or
at least send it packing for what they hope is years, if not forever.
So, I try and remain present, if possible, but I know it’s
looming. I have scheduled a bunch of self-care things this week, chiropractor
tomorrow to realign all the sitting in a bed for three weeks issues; a masseuse
that a generous friend gifted me on Tuesday to work out the rest of the kinks;
Thursday, I’ll do work with a friend who’s a professional at inner/spiritual healing to help work out the kinks from the inside as well.
It’s seems hard to try to live normally, and yet, as I saw
yesterday, it wasn’t hard at all — All I had to do was show up. – Plus, I kept the wig. 😉

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