The Hard Stretch

Processing, they say, leads to healing. I say that whoever said time heals all wounds should spend a day in this body of mine. Dealers choice on whether it’s physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually.

I’ve written many blog posts over the past couple of months, none of which seem worth sharing. I find it harder and harder to articulate meaningfully what my post-cancer-grieving-mom life really looks & feels like. It sure ain’t pretty at times and sadly, it isn’t fixed by slapping a quick joke or big smile on it, my signature go-to. I’ve tried to keep that rusty lining mentality through it all though. It’s messy because you’re processing. Processing is progress. And that progress will one day turn into healing.

I have my 18-month-post-treatment appointment next Tuesday. That means I’m 22-months-post-surgery, the last day I had cancer in my body.  I’m still not sure what the correct anniversary is to celebrate. I don’t have scans scheduled for this appointment, those are every 6 months now (next up in December), this is the physical exam and PAP.  I, of course, find myself overanalyzing every ache and pain right now. Each and every one is obviously cancer, right?!  ‘What if’ is a dangerous game to play, I know that, but there’s also no escaping the thoughts filtered through that lense. There are moments of anger, there are moments of gratitude and there are a million moments of every other emotion that exists on the spectrum between those two. Keep us in your prayers!

Boy does 22 months ago feel like it was yesterday and a million years ago all at the same time. I made it out in my mind that the second year of anniversaries would be easier, wouldn’t be as emotional. I’m finding instead that it is an entirely different experience, thanks to that whole, “processing,” thing. Last year, I wanted to fast forward through it all. This year, I find myself not even being able to think to October, when I was diagnosed. Or November. November 3rd specifically. That day haunts me right now. How do we navigate a day that cruelly stole our first and only biological daughter, but granted me a miraculous second chance at life? I don’t play the stats game with cancer, you can’t, you simply can’t, but I was scrolling through Facebook the other day (dangerous) and saw a post from a woman who had my cancer and was celebrating five years cancer free (amazing!). She said our cancer had a 15% (15%!) survival rate at the two year mark. I’m sure I knew a version of this along the way, I do recall that my doctor said early on that two years would be a significant milestone. Clearly I never grasped that, although I’m starting to now. I felt that most at my sister’s wedding recently. I had a very specific moment where the emotions hit me really hard, as if I finally realized how much of a miracle it was that I was even there. The idea that I could’ve missed out on being my sister’s matron of honor struck me to my core. It was a moment marked by the deepest sense of gratitude I can remember feeling since 10/20/16, paired also though with the deepest ache. Hallie is my greatest miracle and my greatest heartbreak, all in one.

I saw this posted the other day and as I read each need, I found myself silently screaming, ‘retweet’ to each one. Simple yet profound, my head & heart at this point in time, perfectly captured. In reading it, consider this your invitation ‘in’ as we tackle this incredibly difficult (and long) stretch of appointments, anniversaries and holidays …again. And thank you for your continued role in keeping Hallie alive for us.

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Here’s to a clean bill of health on Tuesday. Thanks again for your prayers!