I’m so touched by all the support I’ve been getting from everybody over the past couple of days. It’s overwhelming, and deeply, deeply touching. And it certainly brightens up the darker, scarier corners of my mind.
I’m still getting used to the idea that I have cancer. One of the things I’ve noticed is that my own reaction to this information is wildly unstable.
Sometimes I feel scared half to death that I have cancer. It’s the thing I’ve always dreaded. I imagine it creeping stealthily through my body over the past few months or years, seizing territory, staking claim – a dark malignant force with a big head start.
But then GC will hug me or Duncan will purr on me, or I’ll read some of your messages, and then suddenly I’m fine, confident that I have a good chance of emerging strong and healthy. Who knows, I might even be stronger and healthier than ever before. And maybe even wiser! And maybe I’ll have a whole new sense of clarity about the meaning of life! And maybe I’ll finally organize my art supplies! And write a book! And….! (As you can see, I have outrageously high expectations of cancer’s potential to improve my life.)
Yesterday I had lunch with Marta, a storyteller who wants to tell one of my stories at a conference for teenagers. Near the end of our conversation, she brought up the subject of my cancer diagnosis, and said she believes every experience comes with gifts. I knew exactly what she meant, because I believe it too. I know it sounds a little pollyannish or new-agey, or at least a little grasping-at-straws-y. Call me an incurable optimist, but I honestly believe good things will come of me having breast cancer. That’s not to say that these good things will necessarily be worth the ordeal of breast cancer, only that it won’t be all bad; some good will emerge.
And already good things are coming out of it – for example, I had no idea I had so much support from so many people until this week. No idea at all. It makes me very happy to know that so many people care about me and want to help me. You’re like a protective force all around me.
After lunch with Marta, I went for a massage and then took the bus home. I was thinking about my son. I’ve been on his case for years to get the chicken pox vaccination because if he gets pox as an adult, he might be unable to have children. Clearly this is something that matters more to me than to him at this point, but someday it might matter very much to him, so I’ve been urging him to do what he can to keep his reproductive options open. Anyway, on Wednesday night I told him I had cancer and we talked about that, and then, as usual, the subject of chicken pox came up. This time he promised me he’d call and make an appointment the very next day to get the vaccination.
So I was sitting on the bus, thinking about James and his future children, and of course that made me think about knitting, and then suddenly it occurred to me that maybe I’d never meet his children and maybe I should knit something now, just in case. Well, that struck me as so sad I started weeping right there on the bus, and that struck me as so funny I started giggling. So if you happened to be on the #14 yesterday afternoon and saw a woman laughing and crying at the same time, now you know why.
So yeah, I have my moments. But most of the time I’m doing okay and gradually coming to terms with the idea that I have cancer.
*Just a note to those of you who have been sending emails – thank you so much, and I’m not ignoring you, it’s just that I’ve fallen way behind on my emails the last couple of days. I’m trying to catch up.