Another year post-BC. Another Pink October, Thanksgiving and Christmas have passed, all well-enjoyed. The night terrors about recurrence have ceased for now.
My Pink October fits of the past years have fizzled - it simply takes too much energy to manifest the hate for the endless beautification of breast cancer in this country. I want to spend my valuable time on other things.
So much of the past 4.5 years was consumed with IT. Diagnosis. Chemo. Surgery. Radiation. Grinding chemo side effects that never fully abate, despite the application of every single remedy Google can find, pharmaceutical and otherwise. Dread and joy cycling constantly, wavering between absolute ecstasy of living and the fear of a painful, early death. Plastic drain tubes where where my fine C-cups used to sit, under some jagged 70+ surgical staples. Those incisions, raw and ragged where the tubes exit the armpits. Every motion feels as if a lit cigar is being applied to those wounds. Sleep is impossible. Crying with my husband as he dutifully strips the drains, day after day. The bizarre, new lightness to my chest that leaves me wobbly and clumsy. Radiation time - that is supposed to be EASY AND PAIN FREE. Oh, you may get a slight sunburn is all. Yes indeed! It's more accurate to state that you most definitely will get a 2nd degree burn that is super fucking painful and will take years to heal. Tamoxifen last but not least, which may keep you alive and recurrence free, or do absolutely nothing whatsoever. It will assuredly cause you to gain 40+ pounds and experience joint aches of an 80 year old.
Crushing and utter upheaval of our lives - financial, family, friends, mental and physical health, marital, spiritual - no molecule will escape the Big C's reign of terror. Thanks to chemo, I miss out on the crowd-pleasing fun of going through menopause, a tiny mercy.
So here we are, on the cusp of yet another new year - 51, post-menopausal and stuck in a dead-end front desk job that requires absolutely nothing from me. Don't misunderstand - it's a great job in most ways. It's nothing short of a gift to have had it. It pays well and has outstanding benefits. There's tons of laughter and zero hard work involved.
Still. The idea of a new year sparks the imagination. Opportunities, possibilities. Perhaps something that better suits my new normal.