Life after cancer: tis the spring of my recovery

Life after cancer: tis the spring of my recovery

Ahhh spring. A warm breeze, a shining sun. A newly grown bunch of daffodils all yellow and bright. Lovely.

It’s exciting to finally experience some nice weather after such a long, cold and awful winter. It’s particularly exciting when that winter was spent dealing with treatments, hair loss and surgeries. Ahhhh, spring. And now, life after cancer.

Yesterday I spent the beautiful Easter Sunday (I’m Jewish, I had no plans as most of us don’t) power washing my sidewalk. One might think holy crap! What an awful, boring way to spend your Sunday! But it wasn’t; I actually enjoyed it. And I’ll tell you why:

I felt normal.

I felt like it was any other day that I had before this whole thing started. Like today, the simple joy of eating an apple and being able to taste every delicious bite. Six months ago an apple tasted like well…shit. Chemo destroys your taste buds and most everything tastes awful. But back to my normal.

Before June of 2013 I had lived a new normal for ten years. I’d had breast cancer in 2003 and done the lumpectomy/chemo/radiation/hair loss thing already. I’d already learned how to live life on the other side of that. I never expected to have to do it again. And when I realized I would it was significantly different than the before.

I was older. Unfortunate fact. Ten years makes a huge difference when you’re talking about treatments and recoveries. My girls were ten years older, we were and are closer than ever. I’m still self employed but part of my job, a huge part of my job requires lifting heavy cases. Would I be able to continue doing that? (the answer is yes!! Yippee!!)

At 45 I didn’t think about my mortality as much. Not to say I didn’t, but this time was worse. Much worse. Would I live to see my daughters get married? Have kids? Still so much to do!!

So now, at 56 I am once again, on the other side.

And everything is so different. I feel in a way that my senses have been heightened. Doing normal, everyday tasks feels amazing. Last week we went for a long ride on our motorcycle as I hadn’t been on it for almost a year. Everything around me looked beautiful and new. (I also froze to death, speaking of heightened senses!)

I have hair now and am back to blessed bad hair days. I even wake up with bed head. It’s like curly baby hair but it’s there and the wig is retired. It’s colored and tomorrow I get my first haircut! Other than a motorcycle helmut, you’re never going to catch me with anything on my head. The freedom from wigs and caps is indescribable.

I have boobs. Brand spanking new, non droopy small boobs. They’re not comfortable yet and maybe they won’t be but the good news is, they won’t kill me. They won’t bounce when I exercise. They stay up regardless of whether or not I wear a bra. They look good in clothes and don’t cause my bra to dig into my shoulders. Sure, I didn’t want to have to go through all this to get them but it’s a perk, right? Plus I lost a few pounds!

I’m all done with surgeries. Three in ten months is most definitely enough anesthesia to fry my brain. I am thinking more clearly now that that and the chemo have worn off. So when I realize that I can still recite phone numbers from childhood, I’m feeling pretty good.

This spring and summer I have lots of plans. None of them include anything I’ve done in the past year. I am not planning on over 50 doctor and hospital visits. I have some other things to do. Things of the bucket list variety.

Did I mention I am off to Paris? To Rome? I plan to take in every sight and live every moment to the fullest. This life is a once around and now that I have it back, it’s time to take the bull by the horns. We never know how much time we have.

Souvenirs anyone?

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