I couldn’t find this in my cancer tour guide book; the section on how to determine your cancer-free landmark. It is an important calculation because that is the socially desired way of talking about yourself on the back side of this. No one wants to hear about cancer, as it is. No one wants to hear about the surgeries or the statistics or what wakes you up cold sweating in the dark of night. No, ma’am. People want the success story, the sigh of relief, the dodged-a-bullet story. And I want to cooperate. Of course, cancer-free is a misnomer. What it really means in this context is that the cancer we came to know you had is, to the best of our knowledge, not there anymore. Okay, then, that makes today my cancerversary because a year ago today I had the surgery that removed my cancer along with the body parts that played host to it. Gone and no signs of anything new since.
One year is a long time. One year does not seem like much at all, especially when most of that year was spent mired in the aftermath of reconstruction. I thought I would feel proud or at least relieved to be speaking from this day. I am not. I am angry and emotional and extraordinarily depressed. What is happening in the world horrifies me and more so today. What is happening in and to our country is a living, terrifying nightmare and more so today. And then there is cancer which gave me this day, this one year landmark, making it, too, feel more real today.
I cannot muster confidence that one year means all is well; I can only muster comfort from what surrounds me, but I have to stay very close to home in that pursuit. Gordy is traveling. I am home alone with the dogs and the horses and no one but me to get myself up to do chores and take care of these lovely beings because they count on that. I do, too, meaning that I count on them. I count on the rhythm of the day that demands I show up and make their world revolve as expected. If it wasn’t for that, I might venture a little too far down the dark paths that crack open for me in the dead of night — dead, being the operative word there.
So, if you have managed to drag yourself through the ugliness of my cancerversary induced fear-thoughts, let me reward you with pretty pictures of ponies and puppies, each one of them, all taken today. It’s what I do — take pictures; try to freeze frame a moment and hope that it will stay with me forever, however long forever is. The view is wonderful, close to home.