This year, Thanksgiving Eve started the perpetual chain of thoughts in my head that were almost always prefaced with "This time last year..."
On that fateful afternoon, I was praying there would be a bathroom in the lobby as I walked in for my first colonoscopy. Pleased I had survived the car ride without a cold sweat or sheer panic, my biggest concern at that moment was finding the bathroom, not finding out I had cancer. How naive I was to it all. I think back and want to slap my silly little self who didn't seem to have a care in the world.
It was amazing how quickly I threw all rules of female bathroom protocol out the
window when I had an entire bottle of Miralax sitting in my intestines.
As hard as it is for men to fathom, there are unspoken social
mores for ladies and our public bathroom habits. A colon prep makes
most of those very hard to abide by. But considering I was
walking into a public bathroom adjacent to a gastroenterology office
and a room full of fellow colonoscopy preppers, I knew it
might be OK to throw caution out the window. Or down the
toilet in this case.
And then December 5th arrived.
This time last year, I held my hand slightly over my left hip bone and knew that for only a few hours more I was holding on to cancer. My hand was no more than an inch away from touching evil. Two weeks prior, I would have never in my wildest dreams guessed this would be me.
So yesterday marked my "cancerversary." My official anniversary for being cancer-free.
"Cancer-free" is a relatively ambiguous term at the moment, since I'm not really sure if I'm cancer-free or not. It's like I'm living in cancer purgatory, which is a blast.
On the up side, I can say that I am one year down and have four more to go before I can call myself cured.
On the down side, every time I climb on the treadmill, I have to wonder if every mile I ask of my lungs will be worth it in a couple of months when I climb back on the table for another CT scan.
But life can't stop, I can't stop and nothing can be put on hold in the event of or just in case. Even if, I still have to make the most of every normal day because I CAN. And today will be no different. I'll get on the treadmill and pull inspiration from last year, when I couldn't even make it past the first 10 minutes of Bridesmaids because it hurt too much to laugh.
And later tonight, when the kids are fighting, the baby is screaming and Merrick is begging me to come into the bathroom while he poops so he can recite every line from The Polar Express book, I'll think back fondly to a year ago when I was alone in a quiet room, napping when I wished, the television to myself and heavy narcotics running though my veins.