That’s the name of the current chapter in the Lance
Armstrong “recovery from cancer” book.
I’ve been thinking about this concept, and besides the
things that come to mind about “how will life be different on the other side of
cancer,” I recognize, surely, the amazing fact that I am thinking about life on the other side of cancer. The
hopefulness that simply contemplating that future embodies. It’s a buoying thought.
But, unsurprisingly, I have been thinking about what things
will look like on the other side. At some point, life will take on the
trivialities that make up life – washing the dishes, waiting for a delayed bus, making a living, knocking
your shin into something, rolling your eyes at your parents’ continued
“them-ness.” At some point, it will stop being about the fight for survival,
and things will ebb to a different level.
What will that level look like? I am hopeful that it won’t
look the same, but of course, in the ways listed above it will indeed. Will I
write more? Paint more? Will I move back east? Will I find a different line of
work? Will I date?
What will it look like? Will I actually exercise now? Will I
be more than I have been, really? Will I take this opportunity for what it’s
worth? I have no idea. I don’t think I’ll know till I get there, and I hope to
be patient with myself when I am – because no one does change overnight, and
there will be a long period of adjustment, of equalizing when this is done, I
Will I become a cancer advocate? Will I work with bringing
art or music to children with cancer? Will I advocate to have them put yoga
videos on the TVs in hospitals, so you’re not watching the weather channel or
the QVC channel all day? Will my priorities change like that? I don’t know.
One woman I’ve spoken with through the Leukemia &
Lymphoma Society as a “peer-to-peer” support had Leukemia 20 years ago, and now
works for the American Cancer Society. Will I do something like that? (Likely
not!, but I like the idea of being a peer for the next person coming down the
line with all their fears and questions.)
I like the idea that I get to think about this.
It’s like a major, massive pause in my life when I get to
take stock in a way that I wouldn’t have thought to or had the chance in quite
the same way to before.
People have said this is just a bump in the road, but I
don’t really see it like that at all. I feel like I’ve jumped the tracks of the
life I had before – taken a major left turn, and am no where near the road that I’d been on. I think my road has
changed, and I think I’m grateful for it, as I get to take that stock and look
at where my life has been and is, and where I want it to go.
Often people talk about wanting to pull a giant emergency
cord on their lives, wanting to get a handle on where it is and what’s
happening, but usually, we do not have that luxury. There are still those
dishes, and that living to make.
With these months of convalescence, I have that emergency
cord pull. I am in a suspended state at the moment. I get to look over it all,
and see what changes I want to make.
There are a lot of “Will I…?”s in my Morning Pages this
morning. Will I be different, advocate for myself, will I rent an art studio
space, will I move back east, will I go back to my same job, will I be able to
afford my student loan bills, will I find the support back east that I have
here – will I really be different? Or
will all of this fade into a bad episode, really fade into a bump in the road,
rather than a game changer? I don’t know.
I won’t and can’t know, but I think contemplating it is a
good beginning to helping the change come to fruition. I don’t want to fade into the sameness of before. I think
it’s a lesson wasted. And a cosmic shame to dismiss or ignore what is a
steel-toed kick to the soul – or mind, rather.
I don’t know what Survivorship will look like to me. I am in
so many ways still in the middle of the current process. But I do want it to
look different, and whatever they may say about roads and intentions, I’m going to try to
keep this one. 

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