As of 1:30 yesterday afternoon, I am CANCER FREE.
My initial reaction to that information confounded me. I stepped outside of the doctor's office and stood blinking at the sun. I wanted to cry but would not allow myself to, because I felt devastated. I did not feel elation or relief. I felt wrung out.
I went for coffee with Savia, bought laundry detergent, and went for a walk, but still my body shook. I was reacting as I had the day I was first told of my abnormal cervical cells. I had never experienced being told my cancer was gone, and I was sure I was doing a horrible job of it.
Luckily, my lack of enthusiasm for not having cancer was a short-lived phase. I decided to go out where the people were and get over whatever it was that was holding back the joy I just knew had to be hiding around my person. I decided to tell every single person I ran into whose name I knew my good news, and by the time I had told five people, one of whom was some guy I didn't even know who bore a striking resemblance to someone else, some of that joy started to kick in.
And that joy was, well, pretty joyous, right up until I woke up this morning. I lay in bed looking into the light filtered through my eyelids and wished that I would never have to open my eyes again. I wondered how easy it would be if I could just simply quit breathing.* My first morning cancer-free was anything but happy. I was starting to wonder what kind of consummate asshole I must be to to be so ungrateful for the good fortune of having such a short and relatively easy battle with the Big C.
It wasn't until I had a chat with Neil that I realized what it was. As much as cancer sucks and the last several months have been difficult to get through, this period of time has had the strongest narrative of my life. Something was large in my life every day. I came from somewhere and was going somewhere and there were points of import dotted along the way. As soon as I walked out of the doctor's office, the next point of import was nothing more my cubicle and horde of favourite pens in a week's time.
See what I mean? Asshole.
Of course, I am happy to be rid of the devil rot. Who wouldn't be? But I have become accustomed to having the tide that carries me forward be something a little larger than the city bus to and from work. Does anybody know of any circuses I can run away to?
* It is difficult to die by refusing to breathe. There is that issue with the passing out and the involuntary breathing process.**
** Also, I didn't actually attempt to stop breathing this morning. I tried it when I was nine or ten years old, so I know it doesn't work from firsthand experience. Plus, it makes me panicky.