So, having had today marked down in the diary as the Big One*, we only got partial results today, and am waiting on more next Thursday. My own surgeon was away, so there are still a few questions that I was unable to get answers for, but it looks like I won’t have to have chemo this time round.
Part of me feels like I should be elated, because, you know – NO CHEMO**!!, but actually, instead of feeling like I dodged a bullet (and obv, it’s a bullet I know only too well) I actually still feel too broken to be leaping up and down. Broken, bleeding, blistered, scarred, hurt. (nb,’feel’ = am.) And not being able to lift my arm beyond shoulder level is driving me crazy. And it hurts AND I’m healing. Those last two often go together, this I know.
Tomorrow I am doing The Story, and I am SO THRILLED that I didn’t back out, drop out, of something I have long looked forward to. It will be a 20 min presentation, telling the story of Fun Palaces, to a sold-out audience (not all there for me, obv! I’m part of a whole day event). I am nervous and excited and haven’t had as much preparation as I’d like, but I figure I know the Fun Palaces story in my bones (even the bit of rib that was cut out to make a place for the moved-from-belly blood vessel in my now-belly-tissue breast, even in that bit that’s not even in me any more) so I’m trusting that my belief in the idea, my passion for the project, and the adrenaline because I’m doing what I (also) do will hold me up!
All dressed up, I won’t look broken at all.
I’m quite excited (and quite scared) about being out in the world as presenting-Stella, rather than sick-Stella. (But just in case I get too excited, I can only attend for an hour, before attending the dressings clinic at St Thomas’s. hello reality.)
There is something to be written, spoken/made, about how such deep illness/surgery rocks one (or maybe not ‘one’ – I’m guessing I’m not alone!) how disease and surgery has rocked me (again) – to the core. How it possibly changes that core. Something about how we are always new/different people after a Big Thing. Whatever that Big Thing might be. I’m not quite able to find the words for it yet. But I’m pretty sure it’s a very close cousin to grief. I’ll work it out eventually.
We didn’t open the bottle of champagne, because it didn’t feel like the celebration we’d hoped ‘it’ (hopefully no chemo) would. But I am having a glass of wine. Just one.
* though my experience last time was that results often came in dribs and drabs, I’d forgotten that, until today, when it came in dribs and drabs …
** and I do think this, but there’s also that bit of me that is annoyed that everyone else doesn’t have to think this. There is also the bit of me that feels guilty (I KNOW! but I do, a bit) because the friends who are having chemo, some of them for the second and third times, are having it and I’m not. Oh it’s a complicated thing, this staying alive …
and Shelley’s written about how it feels from her side of the partnership, here on her blog.