Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Year Ago Today

It was the fifteenth day of the second month of the 2012th Year of Our Lord, and the good surgeons did undertake to rid my life of the demon Asmodeus.  Their sure and steady hands were well guided by my champion, the Archangel Rafael.  With precision, they did cut into my flesh and ferret out all traces of the demon.  Asmodeus was removed from my flesh and cast into the deserts of Northern Egypt, bound hand and foot, where he impotently gnashes his teeth and wails his threats unto the uncaring skies.  To guard against his return, I daily partake of a potion of mixed favors.  Whilst on the one hand it bringeth aches to my joints and removeth the strength of my fingernails, on the other it provideth patrols of guardians who guard my inner passageways, searching for traces of the demon or his cursed minions.  Should the guardians happen upon the blighted spawn, they quickly dispatch them with blazing swords, banishing them anew so I may yet live to see my children's children grow unto the fullness of their lives.

Or something like that.

A year ago today was my last day on the other side of one of the great divides in my life.  To the previous division of before-and-after-Mom-died, I added before-and-after-cancer-surgery.  While a good portion of the time after surgery is mercifully lost in the fog (painkillers do a great job of preventing memory from working well), there are a few things that stick out in my mind.

First and foremost is waking to hear that Asmodeus had not yet managed to invade my lymph system.  I hadn't quite dared hope it could be so until they told me the news.  Despite everything else, when I heard I was swamped with relief as I dropped the heavy burden I hadn't even let myself acknowledge I had been carrying since I'd first found the cancer over a month before.

One of the others is the well-meant but insensitive comment that since I didn't lose my hair, it must not have been 'real' cancer.  I secretly feel that way myself.  So many go through years of hell once they have the disease.  Why was I excepted from the rigors of chemo when my good friends who are fighting similar battles are not?  On the other hand, I've decided those who say they don't even notice the implants after the first year are lying to make everyone else feel better.  How can you not notice that you have a six-inch wide band of numbness across the front of your chest?  I mean, really!

There are memories I treasure:  Of those who brought food and helped clean and made sure I took my medicine and brought me out so I wouldn't go stir-crazy when I probably should have stayed home (I'm really not good at letting people help; I haven't had much practice).  Of the outpouring of cards and love from people who are part of my everyday life, and from those I hadn't heard from in years.

There are memories too painful to touch even now:  Of driving free and doing just what I wanted to do each day.  Of waking each morning to readily see the hand of God in the beauty surrounding me, knowing I was part and parcel of the scene.  That road is now closed to me.  Where ever I go from here, it can never be down that same carefree and joyful path.

It is a year later.  I am alive.  I have not only survived, I am well down the road to health.  That is more than too many who have heard the dreaded diagnosis can say.  I am trying to be happy about it, but it's not working so well tonight because I am afraid.  I am afraid that when I go in for my checkup next month, they will tell me my guardians have lost the battle, and the cancer has again gained a stronghold in my body.  That's what happened to Mom.  Tonight, the words of logic, which tell me all the good reasons the cancer will not return, are lost in the roar of the wind of what might-could be.

Yet, I've made it this far.  And I refuse to let fear rule my life.  So, tomorrow night I will go out and celebrate anyways.  Because life is good and I have today.  And today is all any one of us has.


  1. Good luck on your checkup. I loved the intro. Very cool. Hang in there!

  2. I'm so very happy and relieved that this story has an ending that gifts us with you, wise courageous warrior. You are well loved.