Last week was my full-out “cancerversary.” It’s been a year since my “everything-ectomy” and the diagnosis. A year since I first heard someone say to me, “As someone who has cancer…” (The attending doctor was explaining that, as someone who had cancer and some other factor that I can’t even remember what it was, I would have to give myself shots so that I didn’t get blood clots. I said to him, “You lost me on ‘as someone who has cancer…’”)

It’s been a long year, as many of you know. Danny dying. Surgery. Cancer. Chemo. BRCA2. More surgery. Oh, and Covid (I also started this all out with Covid.) Not to mention just life and family stuff.

It’s been a lot. That’s pretty much been my refrain, when I’ve answered the question, “How are you doing?” “It’s been a lot.” I say. “And I’m tired. Way, way tired.”

Which is still how I feel much of the time.

It’s been so much that I keep feeling like I haven’t processed it yet. I don’t fully get it yet. I certainly don’t know how to be with it and “hold” it in my mind, heart, body, and soul yet. Just the other day, I said to a dear friend, “I had cancer. Wow.” It’s somehow still dawning on me. It’ like when I look back through my photos and I see my bald head. “Wow, I was really bald,” hits me every time.

So, it feels both very real and very surreal.

Real in that my body is tired. I am much much stronger than I was, and my body is still tired. Real in that my heart hurts. I have many many moments of ease and love, and my heart still hurts. Real in that I don’t want it to be true, and I don’t want to be monitored closely for the next years. I know I’m currently cancer-free, and I still don’t want it to be true. I don’t want it bo be a part of who I am and what I’ve gone through and what is part of my future.

But it is, and it’s very very real.

And also very surreal because it feels so freaking weird to try and wrap my head around all that’s happened. If I am truly going to take more from cancer than it takes from me – and I am – it is very very surreal to figure out what I plan to take from this and how I plan to grow from this and how I plan to be with this. Or even, again, just that this is actually part of me and my story now.

Again, given the choice, I don’t want it to be a part of who I am and what I’ve gone through and what is part of my future. But again, it is.

Perhaps I’ve been too preoccupied by all of it this past year to throw my “not me tantrum” and I’m doing that now. Perhaps, I’m healing enough now and therefore thawing enough now that I can begin to sit with this and be with this and find my way.

I will find my way. I will find my way to hold this. I will figure out “who I am” – how I’m different and how I’m the same.

And I will, perhaps no surprise, have ultimate compassion with myself as I go through this. No matter how long it takes and how messily I do it.

I will let the cancer be both real and surreal, and I will let me be me.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

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