It’s a Monday, and I’m tired but here. I’m sitting in a summer writing class for teachers (Northern Virginia Writing Project) sipping on my coffee that is losing its heat. Everyone in here is doing their Morning Pages. I keep thinking back to the question one of my classmates, Kelly, asked me on the first day. Will being a cancer survivor always be how I identify myself? I thought about that as I trotted across GMU’s campus this morning with a V-neck shirt exposing my bruised chest port site from Friday’s port flush.
It’s the question that demands a response in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep because of morphine.
I don’t know.
I’m not at always – I’m just at right now.
I finally don’t look like I’ve suffered, but I have a fear of crashing. I’m not as strong as I thought I’d be at this point in my recovery. I wanted to be stronger.
Kelly also asked me why I’m here – doing a writing class instead of using the whole summer to relax and heal. My mother wonders the same thing. The truth is – I need to feel like I’m going somewhere. The walls of our apartment still remind me of struggling to stand and cold bathroom floors. While it is our first home after getting married and starting a family, it was still my prison for six months.
I’m like a kid running down the hill too fast, desperately hoping my legs will support the weight of my drive and excitement to be able to go back out into the world. I’m hoping I can get to the end of the road without lodging gravel into my elbows and knees.
To think about the word “end” – even as I type it still makes the butterflies in my stomach lie down and stay still – holding their flutters until its safe.
I have to stop thinking cancer is lurking in the shadows.
Friday at 11:30 I got my port flushed – holding Shiloh’s tiny hand – as the nurse disconnected the needle from my chest where my heart still beats.