I found the blue bird flapping awkwardly, begging me—not for death—for life. Didn’t it know what it asked for? It would never fly again, and feathers littered the carpet where our polydactyl cat had played with the bird. Pawing and clawing, enjoying to watch it fight for life.
And of course, I thought of my struggles. It’s hard not reflecting on my own battle when I see death…and suffering. I’m not okay today. Things are bothering me that shouldn’t. Maybe it’s exhaustion. I don’t know….
I announced a few days ago that the cancer in my upper spine is gone. It’s miraculous. Amazing, really. I rode that high for days and have held onto it like a lifeline!
BUT today it hit me again that the cancer in my lower spine remains and is still very concerning. I thought of this because a woman emailed me after my last post. She wrote, “I’m happy you no longer have cancer, but I won’t be following you now. I followed your story to see how long you could stay happy and have cancer.”
Those five words “you no longer have cancer” stuck out and cinched my heart. Like the bird begging for life, I want to hear those words almost more than anything. To be healthy. To be able to hike with my kids. To go out for more than an hour with my husband…. I have to admit that I WANT to live. I WANT the cancer to be gone. I WANT to ring that f*ing bell in the infusion unit so everyone will know that I made it and they might too!
Yet, the woman who emailed me became the cat, deriving amusement from my suffering. And I became the bird, fighting despite reason, just wanting more time. I thought about all of this, staring at the bird’s beedy eyes as tears flooded my face. I honestly had no idea what to do. Kill it? Try to help it? That’s when my cat sauntered into the room, pounced on her prey, and completely ended the bird’s suffering. I didn’t feel sad then. Not at all. I felt gratitude. Thank God the heartache had ended.
Maybe I shouldn’t be posting this, but I’ve vowed to be unflinchingly honest about my journey with cancer. It’s a roller coaster. It’s not easy. People have made it unfathomably better, and a scant amount of people—very few, like this woman—have made it slightly worse. I’m so glad she’s not following me anymore. Plus, she’s given me a good excuse to take a long nap and then go buy a big-fat mocha.
So, the cancer in my upper spine IS gone—and I hope the rest of it will leave too. But regardless, I am still adjusting to a new normal.
It’s a lot to grieve over, and advice from people is sometimes tough to process:
Don’t lose hope.
Be realistic, Elisa. Understand you’re permanently disabled. You agreed to this price…so you could live; don’t whine about that now.
I’m sorry to complain, but having “terminal” cancer in my 30s is not the easiest thing I’ve ever done. But there are so many worse things in this world: war, hunger, poverty, and a chauvinistic guy I once dated. (Did you catch that humor!)
I’m currently sitting in my cush, baby blue, yard sale recliner that an old lady once owned. My kids are absolutely amazing. Mike is wonderful. My cancer memoir continues to sell. And I have much less to worry about than that dying bird did. How can I possibly complain? I’m gonna go take a nap—I know I’ll feel better when I wake up. Plus, mocha whaaa?!
Today though, I guess it’s okay that I’m not trying to be strong all the time. It’s okay to grieve even if it’s after I got to celebrate for a few days over a pretty big win. 💓 I got out my walker today and have vowed to start walking farther than I have been. Even if I have to stop and rest frequently, I have goals, baby. Bam!