1 year ago today, I was recovering from having half of my colon rather unceremoniously yanked from my body when my surgeon came into my room and told me that I had cancer, stage III colon cancer.
Today, 5 months cancer free, it quite honestly feels like it was all a bad dream. I look back on the last year and it is hard for to feel anything but detached, as if I am floating above my life, looking back and watching a stranger experience chemotherapy, watching a stranger shielding her daughter from the big Suck that is cancer and watching a stranger, snuggled into her husband who is holding up the world around her as she tries to sleep it all away.
I have been working on our 2014 family yearbook for months and I simply cannot complete it for I am at an impasse. I am unable to complete it because I do not know how to document my experience. It seems strange saying it, after all, I blogged about my experience. I talk openly about my experience with anyone that asks, but when it comes to including it and documenting it for my daughter to look back on 20 years from now, I want to simply leave a blank page that says “Cancer…June-Dec. YUCK”
I want to include pictures of my daughter in her Halloween costume but I don’t want to mention the chemo treatment 5 days earlier.
I want to include the picture of Bean with her face covered in orange Dorito crumbs but I don’t want to mention that she was eating Doritoes and icecream at 9am on the front porch with grandma because I was lying down inside, too sick and too tired to make her eat an apple instead. I do not want to include a single detail about our family’s journey with cancer and yet it feels like a lie to print a book of happy smiles without a mention of the sorrow.
The fact remains that our family experienced so much joy and we were (and are) so happy, in spite of having to take an occasional time out to sucker punch cancer.
I have disappeared from this blog over the past few months and I am sorry, but here is my reason. The sun came out. The sun came out and summer arrived. I can finally eat and drink anything that I want. I can run and hike and fight to do a pull-up unsuccessfully just like I did before cancer. I can push myself to do whatever I want. So, that is what I have been doing, I have been dancing in the back yard to 50 shades of Taylor Swift with my 4 year old. I order takeout, because I do not feel like cooking. I have been sneaking away on weekend adventures with my family to make up for the cancelled adventures from last summer. I have been sitting in the sun reading a book when I should have been cleaning and I have not been feeling guilty for any of it.
I am determined to hold my family tight to my soul and to dance in the sunlight, because I am here and life is a gift and it was given to me with a bright red bow tied neatly around it.
1 year ago today, I did not know what today would look like. 1 year ago today, I was so very scared. Today, I am here. Today, I am cancer free. Today, I am happy.