When I was dating Scott (9 years ago) there were times I would just shake my head in amazement/disbelief that I was dating him, the next-door neighbor (to my parents). There were times when we were newlyweds that I would drive toward my old home and have to shake my head to jog my memory that I no longer lived in Springville! As well, times when I would be at work/school/grocery store and have to stop and remind myself that the life I was leading at that time was not the life I had previously lived. There were folks I'd see at the grocery store/mall/school/work, and wonder which life I had known them from.
I felt like I could divide my life into two themes - Pre-Scott and Post-Scott. I think part of this was due to the fact that I didn't have much time to transition from one life to the next - so things were kinda muddy there for awhile. Of course, now home is with Scott, this is a second marriage; I did live another life, and there are elements of that past life that are a part of this life, but now I sometimes stop and wonder if this or that life event was pre or post-Scott. And I'll be brave here and say that the transition from one marriage into another, so very quickly, was hard, tough, not easy, and there were times that I wanted to go back to the old me, the other life, the life I had willingly left.
The past month I've found myself (take this literally) shaking my head in disbelief, over and over again. I step outside of my body, and then look at myself wondering how on earth I got to where I am today and how much of "today" is real. Take for instance yesterday - sitting in the movie theater, I scratched my head, my fingers ached in this small act, and I fully expected them to land on hair rather than on a fleece hat. I thought, "Woah, this isn't me, what I'm seeing here is someone/thing else scratching someone else's head, but I'm feeling it." This is just one example - this has happened several times - specifically when I'm in the chemotherapy room - it's someone sitting in that chair receiving chemo, but it's not me, or even more often, "How on earth did I get here?" Or, when I'm getting ready for the day - me without my hat, is not me. Me with my hat, I recognize, but I'm still unsure. Me naked - definitely not me. Me clothed - still leery.
You would think that 4.5 months would be enough time for me to adjust to having cancer. But just like in my newlywed days, the habit of turning south rather than north to go home then jolted me into shock or surprise, which took a year or two of undoing, so is the awareness that I have cancer, and the habits of my daily life pre-cancer still are more present than the shock and surprise that I have cancer and the subsequent effects of cancer.
Last night I cried to Scott - I do miss me; I am afraid, I don't know if I want the new me, or even if I have a choice; chemotherapy may be almost over, but that's just another step in this entire surreal cancer journey. I'm on this road, on this journey, and I don't remember gassing up the car, packing my bags, preparing for the journey. It was a more an "All aboard, you're coming aboard" action rather than any form of transition to this next phase. I see this me, and I wonder who she is, when she'll be leaving, and when the old me will be returning.
I went to church yesterday, the second time in 4 months, and I couldn't help but wonder if those in the congregation see me, or me.
See, I don't want to be a warrior, a survivor, a patient, a tough/strong/brave lady. There are times that I want to go back to the old me, the old way me, the life I had left, the life, and here's the difference, I did not willingly leave.
I have to go back to the faith/hope and Serenity Prayer thoughts - otherwise, like last night - I wallow in sleepless misery. When, when, when am I going to be able to accept that although I didn't choose this journey, it is mine to travel? It's just so surreal . . .
This morning, my friend and I were walking and talking. I was whining to her about this above contradiction. She said that maybe it's a good thing that I think I still have hair, that I don't recognize myself. Perhaps, she said, this means I'm not cancer. That makes sense. Then this thought came via e-mail: "Nothing that had happened in the past could be taken away. This was an
amazing gift. The past was done and over and settled; you couldn't get
it back, but still, whatever good you had gotten from it, spiritually,
emotionally, would be yours for your lifetime."(Nancy Werlin)
The below video stunned and pleased me. This really is the life the current me is living right now. It's joyful, blunt, victorious, and it also shows the port I have and what chemo (the hours of sitting while chemo is dripping) is like.