I found an unfamilar yellow post-it in the smallest pocket of my backpack. The one I had with me on the day of my latest surgery. On it was a name and two phone numbers. Not my handwriting and I don’t remember putting it there.
This little piece of paper was proof that not everything has to be about me all the time, or least, it shouldn’t be. I don’t know if you’ve noticed my blog lately, but crickets are chirping. Not much happening. I’ve been quiet. Too quiet, I think.
It’s funny because when other bloggers write about long pauses in posting new content, I wonder why they’re so worked up. I know I’ll always return to my favorite blogs no matter how long it takes for a new post to appear. My reasons for liking someone don’t evaporate if they’re not feeding me enough.
Yet, I find myself with the same anxiety. Almost a panic, really. Afraid I’ll lose my readers.
So, here I am, more than a week from my last post — thinking. Thinking so hard.
What can I write about? It should be meaningful, personal. What’s happening with my doctors, maybe? Well, I have a visit with my plastic surgeon next week to finally talk “nips and tats.” Other than that?
Then I found that post-it and here’s the thing. Maybe cancer’s lifespan is like the tide. Ebbs and flows. As we stand on the shore viewing the horizon of our future, cancer comes in with such force, we’re nearly bowled over. Sometimes, we are knocked down, but we get up, wash off the sand and deal. Because that’s all we can do as the tide relentlessly gushes in.
Waves, different for all of us, but still powerful and scary. One after the other.
Tests, appointments, surgeries, treatment, more surgeries, more tests.
In the swirl of the water, we wonder if we’ll ever see our lives again, find ourselves. There’s much to blog about and without warning the sea calms, sparkling toward the horizon once again. Life resumes.
I may be in the ebb of cancer’s rush. I’ve done all I can at this point to beat it down. This yellow post-it, along with bloggers such as ihatecancer prove others are still drowning in the waves. They need help.
The post-it bears the name and phone number of a nurse I met the day I was having my ovaries removed. That day…that was supposed to be all about me. She has breast cancer, not stage 1. The details are fuzzy because she came to me while I was waking up, trying to shake the anesthesia. We have the same oncologist. She’s about my age. She’s not interested in support groups, but would like someone to talk to. She had declined chemo. I don’t know why she did, but it worries me.
Finding the little piece of paper she placed in my backpack reminds me — This journey, at this time, may no longer be about me.
I’m calling her. This stranger. I can do that now, during this lull, this ebb of cancer I find myself in. Knowing full well, as one who walks on the water’s edge, the tide will flow back in any time. I can’t help thinking it’s inevitable, but while waiting, I’ll keep walking. There’s a lot to do.