Friday, March 11, 2011

Ok, I'm in Remission- So Now What?

Its been an interesting week.  Ok, let's rephrase that- it's been a really tough week- one that I thought would be full of indescribable bliss, happiness, and elation but rather has turned into a week of soul searching, confusion, and introspection.

For the past 3 months I have been punching the hell out of Cancer, desperately fighting to live, and hoping and praying that I would be given a second chance at life.  After climbing for 3 months up what seemed like an insurmountable mountain, I reached a clearing, was told I was Cancer free, and finally was able to catch my breath and exhale.

So now where does this leave me?

What I fear people do not understand is that while I may be in remission, I am still fighting. I still have 3 more rounds of chemo, 15 more days in the hospital, 2 more scans, and a lifetime of rebuilding to do. While the Cancer may have left my body, the toxic residual affects of having her living inside of me- are still palpable.

I find myself unsure of how to celebrate this incredible achievement when I still am fighting.
I am unsure of how to fight with the same intensity when my main opponent has retreated.
I am unsure of how to visualize my fight since all the rules have changed.
And maybe most importantly I am unsure of how to identify right now.

I think there has always been a big part of me that hoped that once I reached remission, I would then be able to fast forward and start rebuilding my life, and more importantly be able to connect with my former self. The reality is my former self, my former life, is gone.  I can't get back to who I was no matter how much I try.  All I can do now is try to figure out how this experience has impacted me, impacted my loved ones, and figure out how to rebuild from the bottom up.

I have no doubt that my new life after Cancer will be beautiful and full, but creating it from scratch is daunting.

And so here I am, at 29, taking stock of my life. What is it that I really want? What do I really care about? What core values matter the most to me. Where do I see myself in 5 or 10 years? What do I want my legacy to be?

Heavy shit right?

I realize I don't have to figure this out today, or even tomorrow. But, the pressure to live a fuller life, a greater life, a more meaningful life, is very real. Its a pressure I am placing on myself because its who I am.

Maybe I won't be able to make any real decisions until I finish treatment and have that final scan at the end of June. Maybe  my next steps won't be determined until years after I have finished treatment.  Maybe it's time I stop putting so much pressure on myself to rebuild and recreate a life and I should refocus my efforts on getting through the next two months.  Maybe I need to accept the fact that I have no idea what lies ahead, I have no idea what path I am supposed to follow, but what I do know is that I have incredible love and support around me to help guide me, hold my hand, and get me through this.

Maybe I need to tell my mind to shut the hell up and just breathe.

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