I don’t know why, but the last two days both of my breasts have hurt so much it’s like excruciating PMS. I don’t know if it’s psycho-somatic, or if they really actually hurt. It just feels like I’m on my period, and due to IUD or birth control pills, I haven’t had one of those in years. My body responds rapidly to hormones. All I know is I feel like they’ve each gained about 15 pounds and have a miniature acid rock band inside, blaring off key music all day. I don’t know why that’s my metaphor, but that’s what I feel at the moment. And I can’t turn it off, even with Advil.
Today I’m sad. I was prepping for next week after the kids left, and IT hit me like a ton of bricks. This situation is not going away. It’s here to stay. Even after my soon to come surgery I’ll likely be on drugs for a minimum of 5 years…perhaps longer. Then my doctors will forever have to pay attention to me in a different way because of this. Everything is going to have the fucking cancer cast to it for the rest of my life. And that pisses me off.
I don’t like needing things and I don’t like being sick. I wish I was as loving and kind and patient as so many of you have been, offering your words of support and help. So I played a little game with myself. What if ___ friend asked me to help them due to a cancer diagnosis, or being sick in general? What would I do? I made a list of things I could ask for help with, truly small things, and imagined said friend doing them. I put my personality into it…and it wasn’t pretty.
I shudder to admit, I’d help my sick friend out once or twice, and I’d be all proud of myself for it, all superior and gloating inside, but after I’d get busy and stop sending texts as often or calling or emailing or checking in…because I’d either a.) forget or b.) I’d be caught up in my own life shit to be conscientious. Then when I thought about my friend at some random moment, I’d feel like shit for being a fair weather friend, and then I’d reach out again, all haphazardly, acting like I have really been there all along.
This plays over and over for me in my head. I don’t know how to do really be of service, and I don’t know how to receive. My biggest fear–
gulp it’s so hard to even say
…is that I lean on one or two people and I ask waaaay too much from them. I fear I will ask too much and then become a burden. That I will keep asking and asking and they will end up so depleted and so deeply hurt by me, that I will lose the relationship.
I’m going to try to keep that from happening. It makes me terrified, but I’m not going to let it.
But you need to promise me something on a stack of Bibles. If I email or text you or call you and ask if you’ll do a stupid thing for me, and you REALLY CAN’T REALLY DO IT without it messing up your life/schedule/time/needs, please say no. Can we please have that deal? Otherwise I won’t be able to ask.
And maybe, if you do do something for me, maybe remind me that it’s ok not to reciprocate, to just receive. That makes me taste blood in my mouth, but I will need to hear it.
Today in school there were some tender moments. I emailed parents last night…and I said I’d be telling the kids. Some emailed me back, some sent sweet messages. One of them told her child, and that child told another child over text. So basically first thing this AM I had to tell my class.
It was sweet. I had to say to them things like “I have the kind of cancer that very rarely makes people so sick that they die. It’s an easier one for doctors to fix.” And when they asked me if I was going to die, I had to say, “I cannot tell you I’m not going to die, because none of us ever know that.”
I promised them that they’d always be cared for. That I will choose the best substitute teachers because I want them to always having loving kind people in the room when I’m not. They were solemn, and sweet. They wanted to ask me a bunch.
About an hour later we went out to recess. Most of the kids ate their goldfish crackers and hopped on the swings. We had swings this week. Yes…the children don’t have full access to the playground equipment. We have to use only sections of it at a time for safety, and so our beleaguered janitors don’t have to spray it down multiple times a day. So each classroom is assigned sections each week.
I always bring my Bluetooth speaker out to recess and play music. I often take requests, but for the last two weeks I’ve been playing just my music. I have needed it. I always make mixes depending on my mood that month, and this month’s mix is called “Badass Me, 2020-2021.”
This little human was already dancing for me before Coldplay’s Fix You came on, but when that song started she entered this other kind of energy. I decided to sit down on the outside of the playground circle she’d decided was her stage. At first she reminded me of the old hippies that dance at the Eugene Saturday Market. Then I realized what is so magic about that energy is that humans that dance like that are really just dancing and feeling their emotions when they happen. They are being vulnerable and living. They are showing their true selves, and living life as who they are. She also…reminded me of myself as a child.
She had this move where she put her hands together in a heart shape at her solar plexus…and then BURST it up into a joyful hallelujah above her chest when Chris Martin sang the words “Fix You.”
She didn’t acknowledge that I was watching once, but I knew she was dancing for me.
Angels are everywhere.
I think I’ll be okay.