Tomorrow I go in for surgery, in what I hope will be the knockout round of my cancer battle royale.
I’ll be having a partial thyroidectomy and if all goes well and the pathology comes back as the surgeon expects, I shouldn’t have to follow up with any radiation. Once I’ve recovered from the surgery, I’ll be able to have my next CT scan to (hopefully) confirm that there’s been no recurrence from the lymphoma and I’m 100% cancer free. Once that happens, I’ll (hopefully) be able to get my mediport removed, which will feel like a huge victory. I hate that damn thing, as it’s uncomfortable and a constant reminder of the possibility of recurrence.
So, thinking positively, I could be taking giant steps toward returning to “normal” life within the next two months. Fingers crossed.
In the meantime, I’m carrying on as best I can.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the rest of my life and about survival and what that means for me. Survival really is a funny thing, because of course you’re beyond grateful to have survived but now you’ve got this steep mountain to climb on your way back to being healthy. Once you’re out of active treatment, most people assume and expect that you’re “fine”, when in fact a new struggle is just beginning. Your perception of your body, as well as its ability to function in the way you want, will never be the same again. You don’t want to complain, because – hey – you survived and it seems churlish to complain. But, honestly, it’s hard.
I went back to work in February and the experience has perfectly encapsulated the difficulty of recovery. It is wonderful to be back in the classroom, to interact with the students and my colleagues, and to feel useful and productive. The toll it is taking on my body, though, is fairly incredible. I don’t want to give my students a substandard experience, so I put my all into class, thus most days I end up staggering home to the subway barely able to stay upright. I’m exhausted the majority of the time. My favorite activity is resting. But, of course, this is actually progress, because I’m able to go to work, and it’s also evidence I must be “fine”…because I’m able to work. (hahahaha…*weeps*).
Still, it gets better, a little, every week, and one advantage of getting surgery is that you get carte blanche to rest a little bit. I plan to take full advantage of that later this week.
First, though, I’ve got to marshal my strength for one more cancer facepunch. And you know, no matter how tired I might be, only one of us coming out the other side of this battle, and it sure as hell won’t be the cancer.
Wish me luck!