The English Muffin Dance

A couple of weeks ago SHL and I went to our new grocery store, in our new town. It was before I was feeling sick from the treatment, and we were excited to stock up our lovely kitchen (a huge upgrade from our small apartment kitchen). It was a beautiful early autumn Saturday, and we had just gone out to lunch, taken a quick spin around Whole Foods for some organics, and then played tennis. I think I remember the day in such vivid detail (I had the cobb salad and need to work on my backhand) because it was the last Saturday that I felt like myself.

As we wandered up and down the aisles of our new grocery store, thoughts of cancer washed in and out; in when I thought about the healthy foods that I wanted to buy, and out when we would start to talk about something else– whatever it was, it generally took my mind off of the cancer. So much so that at one point I shimmied my way up to the multigrain english muffins and, completely forgetting where I was, started to do a little dance (think of the twist in the 60’s). SHL looked at me like I was nuts, then burst into laughter, which quickly caught on once I realized what I had just done, and soon we were both in tears, hysterical from that crazy silly little move– in the middle of the bread aisle. Was I really that excited about the english muffins? Of course not. Looking back on it, I think that I was tapping into the “Real Sam,” the girl who SHL finds singing made-up songs while brushing her teeth, talking to the cats as if they understand everything that she’s saying, and prancing around the house in sweats as if she’s wearing a ball gown. It was as if, in that moment, I was back to being me, before the cancer. Silly. Fun-loving. Real. Not caring about what others thought; because if they thought that I was crazy, then clearly they’d never had an english-muffin-dance-moment and maybe they just weren’t enjoying life as much as they should.

I didn’t think about it until weeks later, 2 treatments down and sick to go, when it occurred to me that I no longer feel like myself, and that thought both scares and depresses me. It’s enough to have these foreign lesions uninvited in my body, but to then feel like I can’t even sort through the cobwebs that streak their way across my mind, well it’s all about the cancer now. I walk around in a daze, occasionally snapped out of it at work with a tough phone call. I wonder about the word hope, and where it fits into my life. In reality, what has struck me is that others continue to live out their glorious dreams, while my glorious dreams remain as sacred as the day they were born, but in my heart, and nowhere else. And I wonder if I will ever feel like doing the english muffin dance, ever again.


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