Life over the past year has been in Limbo for us. Limbo: suspended, on hold, on the back burner, up in the air. And I use ‘us’ because I’m certainly not the only one who is sitting pretty. Cancer is a family business and my fiance, Mum, sister, and everyone else that I love have been waiting around for SO LONG. I started stem cell treatments this past summer and my last scan predates those… so it’s been a while. People ask me how I’m doing all the time and I have no idea what to tell them. It’s a sweet and caring gesture, to ask how a cancer patient is ‘doing’, but it’s also so darn ambigious. Do they mean to ask if I’m in remission? Don’t they know that if I were I’d be shouting it from the rooftops? Or are they asking about how I feel? Should I be honest?
The anxiety wrapped around that question is not unique to me or to cancer patients. How often have you been asked, “How are you?” and been tempted to answer with a bitter or sad truth? On the flip side, we must decide ourselves when asking after others if we’re ready to deal with, or help out concerning, an honest answer.
Here’s my truth:
I’m okay. I am blessed. I have the wonderful opportunity to plan a wedding while waiting on a scan. For those of you that don’t know, wedding planning is an all consuming act and a fabulous distraction. What I’m averting is the ugly fact that I have been in a waiting period for the past 9 months concerning something pretty heavy duty… I still don’t know if the painstaking, intrusive, and tiresome process of a stem cell transplant has saved my life yet. I do know that I’m angry at the statistics. This was supposed to be cured with 6 months of chemo and I was supposed to be back on track to livin’ by now. I’m fatigued. Very fatigued. And I’ve got side effects up the waz from all of the treatments I’ve had. But you know what? I woke up and there was sparkly white snow surrounding me. I only had 5 customers at work today(that’s one an hour, folks). Two of my favorite songs came on the radio on my way home. And when I walked in the door, there was a hot meal waiting on the oven, candles burning, and a kiss on my lips from the man I love. So, ya, I’m okay… but can we talk about you now? What’s your truth?