Tuesday, December 7, 2010
I had my last radiation treatment today. I cheered with the office staff and patients, exuberantly hugged the technicians, and smiled through thirty-seconds of buzzing. I noticed that my funny bone was very closely connected to my tear ducts.
I stayed a little longer after I was finished to visit with a friend I've made, someone also dealing with breast cancer. She's almost through - nine more days - and we decided that we'd like to have a meal together to celebrate when she's finished.
There's a real feeling of "Why me?" about my experience with cancer. Not in the despairing way of why did this happen to me, not feeling the victim at all. But instead an overwhelming sense of gratitude for how easy it has all been. My surgeries went off without a hitch, I've had few side effects from the radiation, and my friends and family and even the people I've met along the journey have been loving and supportive. So why was I so fortunate?
Six months ago, when I found out I had breast cancer and my father was recovering from hip surgery, everything seemed very bleak. And a month later, I was recovering from surgery and my father died, and I didn't know how I would maneuver through the next few months.
But here I am, five months later, looking back on that time, healing emotionally and physically. Amazing.
Last night I dreamed about my dad again. He was with us for Christmas, had actually come back from the grave to be with us. And this morning, my husband called me to the window to see the sunrise: vivid reds and vibrant pinks with the trees silhouetted black against the sky.
What does this day mean to me? It means that when we gather at Christmas, all the members of my family, my father will be with us in spirit. It means that a new day has dawned for me, and I have a responsibility to take my fortune seriously and move on with my life. It means that no matter how slowly time passes, it still marches on, and eventually we get to the end of the things that we worried about and from there they don't look half so scary as they did in the beginning.
So why me? Maybe so I could come to this night, thankful for endings, anticipating new beginnings, and begin to look at scars instead of wounds.