Thursday, December 02, 2010

What to make of it all

2 months exactly.

You never ring. You don't write. Are you still alive?

Does the person who wished I'd gone to New York and stayed there even care?

My cancer treatment has finished. My life goes on, without the check-ups, the poking and prodding. No more needles, or drugs. Less appointments, less fuss.

My family life has become increasingly complicated but those stories are not mine to tell. And so I say nothing. My legal battles have increased and the courts prevent the sharing of those stories, and so I say nothing. My workload has increased, the output expanded, the throughput improved, the capacity extended, and so I say nothing. I use up all my words by about 8pm most days and so my husband and I sit in companionable silence on our new couch in our new house and wonder what the fuck happened to us over the last 18months.

What's left to say?

At the Canterbury Primary School Athletic Champs earlier in the week I sat high in the stands and huddled into myself to escape the bite of the not-so-summery breeze. The kids ran hard and fast; some won, some didn't. It meant everything and nothing depending on who your parents were, and how much they needed your success to polish their own.

I saw a woman nursing a newborn. One of her other children had drowned in her swimming pool just a few summers ago. I'd have chemo everyday for the rest of my life if the deal spared my children.

T went surfing on his own. Without our permission. He didn't drown. I love the chutzpah, the confidence, the bravado. His ignorance is staggering, as if the universe is benignly serving up perfect sets of seven waves. The deception, the lies are harder for him to bear. Being disappointing is so much harder than being disappointed. How to tell the children that death is scary without scaring them to death?

I'm not going to rebuild my right breast, at least not anytime soon. The process is complex, taking a portion of my back muscle and keeping all the blood vessels intact relocating it to the front of my chest wall. It'll be scarred and won't match the other side and won't have feeling and won't feed anyone. It'll mean more rehab, more hospitals, more recovery, more time away from my real life. I've made another Faustian deal. No boob but more botox. The numbers are absolutely are my side. Adverse surgical outcomes are massive compared to the botox risks. I can have botox every 3 months for the next 5 years and still be ahead financially. I just won't be able to look excited about it. Mildly pleased is the closest to joy Nicole Kidman gets these days.

Seth Godin didn't want me to come to his course in New York. That's okay. New York is lousy this time of year. Lucky for me, two of my eight readers didn't even know who he is. The other six are on the course.


Despite being uncertain about almost everything, I know these things to be true:

1) When you sing, whatever is troubling you, whatever is bringing you down, gets better. But not if you sing 'Everybody Hurts' or any song by The Cure.
2) When you dance you open your heart to the possibility of feeling alive and free. People who point and laugh at you should focus less on you and more on whether the mustard really is in aisle 4.
3)When you sit comfortably in companionable silence whether on a new couch, or old, with husband or friend, you increase your capacity to love and be loved. No punch line. No joke. Just love.

Whatever you make of what has happened to you, and what will happen in the future, love's a great place to start if you're looking for a way home.