Sometimes you reach a point where you’ve said all you can say comfortably. I was feeling for awhile like I had reached that point. I had to take a break from writing because it’s not safe to wander around without any skin.
I still feel incredible anger sometimes, but more often I just feel really sad for myself. Not sorry for myself — this isn’t a sulky, why-me feeling — it’s a resigned and exhausted sadness. I can’t even begin to list all the sucky, awful, disheartening things that will follow me around for the rest of my life as a result of cancer because I’d probably just shoot myself.
I don’t mean to be glib, but it’s better than the alternative.
I am overwhelmed by my future. This is the part you forget when you aren’t counting down the days to the end of treatment. That you have to figure out how to make your way through the days and weeks and months that actually make up your life. That those days in treatment represent such a tiny fragment of it. That you never really had control of it, so you never really lost it.
I feel blindsided by the cancer. Not in that it happened, but in that it continues to happen even after it’s past. It’s difficult to find respite from it. Just when you think you’re done, it lopes around the corner to greet you. Yesterday, Gisele told me a story that sounds too implausible to be anything but rural legend but nevertheless works as a metaphor.
Somewhere in northern Canada there is an island where sled dogs are set loose every spring to roam free until the winter when they are collected and put back to work. One summer a sled driver died and there was no one to pick up his team, so they wintered over on the island. Sled dogs are pack-bonded, and it didn’t take long for them to become feral. By the next summer, they were wild.
A family was boating around the island when their canoe capsized. They were pretty far from shore and the kids were young and the parents were afraid they wouldn’t be able to swim to land. But they managed to get everyone safely to the island, where they were promptly savaged to death by the pack of feral sled dogs.*
On good days, I am pulling myself to shore from a boat that has capsized. On bad days, I am torn apart by dogs.