In the constant search for betterment, answers, and cancer cures one runs smack into attitude over and over again. Girls who master painting smiles on our faces sometimes only glimpse at advice. We figure with painted smiles, attitude’s handled. But every once in a while something sticks.
As the chemical war eeks closer, there are days of fear, apprehension and wonder at what will happen. Will I be violently ill? Will I not be able to write? Will I have permanent side effects? There are times when knowledge is not power. The more cancer knowledge a girl acquires, the worse the narrative becomes. A girl can see herself dead within the first week.
Uplifting messages abound when one searches for strength from somewhere, anywhere, please. A sentence stops me cold. “If what you expect is what happens, then what are you choosing?” Whaaa?
That’s it. A refreshed mantra. If what I expect is radiation burns and barfing chemo, that’s what I’ll get. If what I expect is to remain as healthy as possible, strong and able to roll with the punches that will be the experience. What am I choosing? Of course, we cannot control all things, but we can control our expectation.
I choose change. I go to a party—a party with lots of people, something that has been scaring the hell out of me. I tuck Gus the Asshole Feeding Tube under my dress and rebuke him whenever he threatens to show his little red self.
Eschewing public places where all but my besties will be has become a specialty. Speech is lagging. Half my mouth has a mind of its own, sometimes coming along for the ride and other times just hanging there deciding not to play. A half numb tongue makes for interesting saliva production and placement.
But if I continue to hide, stay away, cancer wins. And if this isn’t survival of the bitchiest, nothing is. If I hole up, cancer takes yet another portion of existence. Am I going to live with cancer and or only after cancer.
Despite my party fears, not a soul acts as if the Bride of Frankenstein has been let loose for the afternoon. Seeing friends is a massive boost. Seeing little ones even more so; since they are cuter, funnier and know how to party without alcohol so we’re on the same page. Pfft.
Forgetting for a moment that we live on the surface of the sun, I find myself caught short when it becomes too warm for the cancer girl. I find solace at home in an oversize chair and Netflix documentaries.
Two lessons learned at an afternoon soiree: “Do something every day that scares you,” and “What you expect is what happens.”
What are you expecting today?