"Yeah, besides that whole maybe dying thing, what's the worst part?"
And then I had to correct the question again, because there's a whole stew of icky stuff that could be considered the worst part: the constant pain, losing the hair, the fatigue, feeling sick to your stomach, and so on.
So I modified the question to: Do you know what ONE of the worst parts of having cancer is?
And here's the answer:
It's how constant it is. How it's always there. From the moment I wake up in the morning, to the clothes I choose, the hat or scarf I put on, the makeup I wear, the food I eat, the errands I run, the activities I choose, to when I go to bed, and even when I without fail wake up some time during the night--it's all influenced by the fact that I have cancer.
I can't think of a thing that happens during my day that isn't in some way touched by that fact. Even when I do something normal, like go to the movies, I have to pick an early show so I won't fall asleep in the middle, and carefully choose a head cover that looks semi-normal and won't itch after two hours or slide around when I lean back on the seat.
Everything's a process that, frankly, makes me weary.
Then there's the chance that I'll see someone I know, and they get that look, the one that's so full of concern. And even if I've been feeling fine, all of a sudden when I see that look I get all choked up and want to cry instead of saying that I'm fine.
I'm sure anyone who's been through a major illness knows what I'm talking about.
Taking a vacation next week will be good. I'm certainly ready for a break. But I worry that the little details (like how do I keep a hat on while riding a roller coaster?) will dampen it. Hopefully I can let it all go for a while. Or at least let it mostly go.
I doubt if I'll be able to let it all go for a few years - when that whole cloud of maybe dying thing has passed. Maybe I can let it mostly go when all the treatments and surgeries are done, which isn't for several months.
For now, I just look for diversions wherever I can and keep hoping for small fleeting moments of normal.