I have to admit, yesterday was a bad day for me. The past month, quite frankly, has been its own special hell, but most of that isn’t my story to tell. Yesterday is mine to tell and I think I’m ready to tell it.
Recently, a lot of the threads in my life have become intertwined into a hopeless knot and I’m left juggling my mess while fixing other messes that I didn’t create. And it has robbed me of the one thing I always think I have more of, precious time.
A great thing about my experience with this odd disease is that I’ve been through it enough to be able to find ways to fit the rough spots in and around my family’s rough spots. Unfortunately life was like, oh baby no that’s not how it works, and everyone’s rough spots seem to be happening at once. In a pandemic.
You know how people who are about to have a baby take a vacation before they pop their kid out? They gave it a cutesy name, babymoon. I don’t really get why they call it that because a honeymoon is fun. You travel, eat good food, drink a lot, have a bunch of sex.
When I was ready to pop I didn’t want to do any of those things. I had vicious heartburn. I was constipated all the time. Each swollen ankle was the diameter of a sequoia. I hadn’t had a good night of sleep in months and I could barely breathe because the giant human inside me took up all my lung space.
I don’t know what I was going to call my period before going back on chemo. A ‘chemomoon’ was what I was trying to do. You know, have that one last hurrah before life got a little too real. But chemomoon sounds terrifying. Like a sweet nighttime amber glow, but with radioactive fallout.
Maybe ‘bucket list’ is a better description? I had a running list in my head of all the i’s I had to dot and t’s that needed crossing before I went into my treatment slumber. Basically, fun stuff that I’ve been putting off because of the pandemic, things I thought I’d be able to get to in time.
That’s where life really gets you. That’s the folly of the human brain. We think we have time. We think it’s always there for us to take when we’re ready to get it all done. Like an infinite spring, clear and cool just waiting to quench your thirst. We think we have time. But we don’t.
That takes us to yesterday’s story that is mine. The one I get to tell.
Yesterday was rough, as I’ve noted. In a matter of hours everything in my life sort of collided, all my things and everyone else’s. And, in the process, it stole my time. Most of the things I’d hoped to get done, all the fun things you do in your last hurrah, won’t get done. They just can’t.
It’s not my fault. It’s not anyone’s fault, really. It just sort of happened because that’s the way life is sometimes. But let me tell you, and I wish I could say it more eloquently, it fucking sucks.
So that’s what was so rough about yesterday. A lot of truths being swallowed one right after another, so many bitter pills and not an ounce of water to help get them down. And I cried. Well, sobbed is a more accurate description. I cried a lot of those ugly cries. I really couldn’t stop myself, so eventually I stopped trying.
I spent yesterday making phone calls and crying. Fixing dinner and crying. Watching TV and crying. Taking the dog out to poop and crying. Blowing my nose, collecting myself, putting in eye drops to make it look like I wasn’t crying, and crying.
It got to such a place where I was even getting tired of myself. Good lawd, girl! Get yourself together! But then I was like, get myself together for what? For whom? And why?
I get to be mad! And I get to be sad too. I get to be whatever it is that I’m going through at whatever time. It’s not a personal moral failing to feel ache in your heart and express it with moans, wails, and trails of mascara running down your face. Being sick sucks. It’s rotten and awful at times. And it’s so damn expensive!
Admitting that I hate being sick sometimes doesn’t make me a negative person. It doesn’t prevent me from being grateful and not mad all the other times. That day of crying actually helped me see a brighter side of things. Well, after I put the de-puffing serum on my eyes and had a cup of coffee.
I woke up this morning after my sobfest and I didn’t immediately feel better. I am still sad. I feel cheated. I just wasn’t sobbing anymore, I think mostly because I had used up a year’s entire allotment of tears in one day.
I’m mad at myself for not taking my time more seriously. But the flip side of that is that I’m super grateful for having so many healthy years in between treatments. It was in those healthy years that I was allowed to become so comfortable with my life I almost forgot I had this awful disease.
I’m sad that I won’t get my chemomoon. But I’m also looking forward to doing some of those things after treatment. And maybe it will be even better then because NO PANDEMIC. I have to tell you, if there’s still a pandemic at that time I’m just packing up and moving to a remote island and giving up entirely on humanity.
The thing is, I never could have seen those things without the good cry. If I had tried to maintain some sort of toxic positivity about the whole thing, that ache would still be there and it would remain there for the duration. Letting myself be sad gave me the motivation to figure out how to be happy again.
And guess what? You get to be mad and sad too, if you need to. Hell, even if you just want to. Whatever that thing is, it doesn’t have to be cancer. It could be anything really. Whatever pissed you off or made your day go to shit, whatever you’re bummed about because life is sometimes a great big meanie head, go ahead and cry it out.
Or eat a whole cake. Rage clean. Quit your job. Go to one of those axe throwing places. Make a sign and start a one person protest on the busiest intersection in your town. However you need to express yourself, do it. It’s okay. You get to. You earned it.
Then let yourself be whatever else you need to be for however long. Because whatever it is that you’re feeling, you get to be it. The only permission that’s needed is yours.