“The best thing that belief can do for you is give you a sense of renewal every day. It doesn’t matter if every dawn brings a new beginning if you are enclosed in the same old self. By being aware of your most positive beliefs, you see new possibilities. This is because every positive belief contains possibilities that naturally expand. To love is to desire more love. To be a survivor gives you more reason to survive… Positive beliefs are life supporting and they gain their power from your true self, which constantly motivates you to evolve and expand.” ~ Deepak Chopra.
I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry. There is nothing (absolutely nothing) funny about cancer, but sometimes I just feel like I should be laughing. Maybe at the absurdity of it all? Maybe because I’m afraid that if I don’t laugh, I’ll never stop crying? Maybe we laugh in order to try and cope with the injustice of the things that happen in this world that seem so crazy we almost can’t believe it. Sometimes it all makes me question who I am, why I am here, and if there is a g-d (my answer still remains “yes,” despite all of the suffering in the world).
The juxtaposition of my emotions has me feeling labile and dare I say it, a little nutty (although I’m sure it’s all perfectly “normal”). I fluctuate between being super-positive (let’s get in there and zap this freakin’ cancer!) to wondering if I should be writing goodbye letters. I’m on such a see-saw of emotions that I literally don’t know which side is up and which side is down. Contact me at your own peril: I can never predict if I’m going to be telling you jokes or crumpling to the floor.
This is the true face of cancer, I think. You can go from the high of feeling so loved and connected to the low of wondering if it’s all going to come to an end much sooner than you had ever hoped. You can worry that nobody will take care of your husband like you would have, or you can actually imagine yourself celebrating your 40th birthday. I know it must be so crushing to read these words, to go that deep and raw. Imagine living it. Can you sit with me even during these emotionally turbulent times? Even if you don’t know what to say? Can you hold my hand?
Part of me wants to fall apart, but I’m not sure that I feel safe enough to do so. It’s not because anybody told me that I can’t or that I would look weak if I did. It’s more because I’m never sure if I’ll be able to put myself back together again. Humpty-Dumpty forever. That scares me.
And yet the other day, I have to admit, I cried three times. Once at work! I emailed my friend M “I know this is normal, but I feel crazy.” But by the time I put my head down on the pillow to go to sleep that night, I felt lighter. It’s strange: I’m a crier, for sure. I love that commercial where the Dad makes her daughter all of these little paper birds out of gum wrappers and as she’s going off to college he finds that she’s kept a whole box of them throughout the years. But OK, I mean, who’s not going to cry at that? And yet when it comes to my own cancer, I don’t cry nearly as much as I thought that I would.
I’m told that there is more melanoma in my liver and as I await surgery, I can’t help but wonder what this means for the rest of my life (who wouldn’t?). And then I remember Deepak’s words and I think “To be a survivor gives you more reason to survive.” The fear still lives, but so does the belief that new possibilities, new hopeful possibilities, are just around the corner.
I will hope. I will cry. I will survive.