Maybe you already heard my megaphone announcement yesterday, but the results of my MRI came back with an A++ circled in red ink. I know they typically grade these tests pass/fail, but since “pass” doesn’t even begin to convey my feelings on the matter, I went ahead and assigned an appropriate letter grade that corresponded to my emotional state, then handed it back to them for them to hand back to me. “Pass,” you see, implies a potentially small margin of victory, and I prefer to think of it as a more definitive blowout.
It’s one thing to go through cancer treatment on blind faith, just assuming that it's all going along just fine. It’s another thing entirely to have hypersensitive imaging confirm it. It feels like they’re letting me out of prison, finally, and giving me back all of my personal belongings, and right there next to my keys and pocket lint is a little thing called my life. Here’s your life back, Ms. Donroe. Don’t fuck it up.
The other milestone I reached this month is that reconstruction is done. The cherry on top, if you will. Things are still looking a little brutalized, but I’m told everything will heal up just fine. I can’t feel anything over there, so it’s not really a problem. I still have three more months of intravenous Herceptin and then they can take this port out of my neck and chest. Then, I’ll really be done. But the hard part is over, so I’m calling it done.
I should tell you that I wear the “survivor” badge cautiously. I am aware that the cancer could come back. I am aware that this is a possibility and, in fact, given my young age, it’s likely that someday it will. But a stretch of time has been presented to me during which I don’t need to worry about that. A one-year furlough from the anxiety of all of the end-of-life-related issues, fears, and logistics—subjects you can’t easily talk about at a dinner party or a casual morning coffee with your friend if you don’t want her going off and killing herself before work. But these morbid thoughts are a mandatory part of coming to terms with the whole experience. And that burden was much bigger than I realized it was. Like driving around for a whole year with the gas light on.
Now that it’s off my shoulders, I feel so light and airy. Should I start jogging again? I think I should start jogging again. Swimming? Yeah, definitely swimming. Lacrosse? YES! I’m going to do all the sports!!!
I give it a month.
[Since cookies have defined this whole ordeal, let’s close it out with more cookies. Check out the recipe for peanut butter pretzel cookies by Hilary Koloski of Cow and Crumb Baking up at How2Heroes. Salty and sweet, soft with crunchy bits, yin and yang. Delicious, like life.]