• Another 100 Days of Good Karma: Day 245 (Radiation Treatment 7 of 30: How Do You Go Back To Normal?)


    Having cancer is like unplugging from The Matrix.


    Friday, March 13, 2015

    Run/ Walk/ Bike/ Elliptical (Today:  2.32 miles;  Running Total: 204.32 miles)

    Day 245 of *Another* 100 Days of Good Karma.

    As treatment progresses I struggle to maintain the perspective I’ve gained.

    I’m in a weird place between ‘having cancer’ and ‘not having cancer’. My radiation oncologist said that chemo dissolved the area of concern under my collar bone. Surgery removed the tumors, the cancerous lymph nodes under my arm and any calcification. Radiation is taking care of the lymph nodes not handled with surgery.

    So I’m still going through cancer treatment, but do I still have cancer? I don’t know.

    I’m good with losing the cancer.

    I don’t want to lose the perspective that came with it.

    I don’t want to forget that every day things are a gift. Writing and physical activity and time with family and friends. These are gifts.

    And then I get angry over something. It won’t even be a big something. It can be something like watching the news. I see the pettiness of the world. I see how little people can be toward each other.

    But my anger isn’t little. It’s big. It’s too big.

    “Don’t you know you don’t have time for this shit?” I want to scream at the television. “Don’t you know it’s temporary? That all of this is temporary?”

    But I don’t scream. I turn off the television.  I walk away.

    I don’t feel equipped to handle the everyday business of being human anymore. Instead of facing the world I lace up my running shoes and wonder how I’m supposed to go back to ‘normal’, whatever that is, after this is over.

    Cancer has taught me that only one thing is certain. That I have today. I might not even have all day.  I might only have ‘right now’.

    I know everyone probably ‘knows’ that, but I don’t think everyone lives with it every day. They don’t live with the knowledge in their bones.

    It’ll hit me at the most inane times. I can be cutting up vegetables or folding laundry and I’ll suddenly flash back to how bad food smelled after chemo. Or I’ll remember the last time I wore that shirt was the day before surgery.

    And it catches me off guard every time. It brings color to the world, but it also scares the shit out of me.

    I sometimes long for the days before cancer when I knew for certain what was going to happen tomorrow or the next day or five years from now.

    Now I know that certainty was an illusion.  What I’m really longing for is the ignorance of my own frailty.

    Longing for ignorance is terrible.

    It makes me think of that moment in The Matrix: “Why, oh why, didn’t I take the blue pill?”

    Today’s silver lining: Running helps. Running clears the anger. So does writing. If you’ve never tried to write three pages of word vomit to clear your head, you’re missing out.

    ‘Normal’, I guess, will come in time.

    What’s your silver lining today?  I love comments!

    Don’t want to leave a comment, but have something you want to share?  Send me an email at gettingthewordswrong(at)gmail(dot)com.


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7 Responsesso far.

  1. Mom says:

    My comment is this, because I am the “Mommy” I always am thinking “why you?” Yes to your father and I you are one of a kind. Our very curious, vocal, nerd of a daughter. Who one day woke up to the big “C” word, cancer. Shit! But you may have silly or wondering days like this but you are alive and we are very grateful to you and all that you have and still will accomplish in your young life. Keep up all that you do with gusto and stand on that soapbox if you have to and yell, “I AM ALIVE AND DAMN PROUD OF MYSELF” Love you!

  2. Kristel says:

    There was an article posted on FB from the New York Times about this very subject. I sent it to you on FB private message.

  3. Wonderful article. I don’t have cancer. I have life. The weather is absolutely perfect (again, thank you) this morning herein Cali. Sky blue. It is relatively quiet, nice. I have a job (hate it, but job). Thank you. My kind, highly intelligent, beautiful boyfriend pulled the rug out of anything radiant, expectant a number of months ago by falling back into the hole of alcoholism- I mean deep. No day has been right since then and there is NOTHING that I can do about it. Like you, I might be doing something absolutely normal, going about my day trying to remember gratitude and then BAMM, the strange, sad reality of this moment of life hits. I do hold on to a glimmer of hope that we will get through this, there are moments of goodness that actually tend to make me a bit sadder. The vagaries of life are crazy but I think/hope that just as this dropped out of the sky, that God will give us grace to move through this.

    • Meghan says:

      Thank you for your kind words. I’m so sorry about the challenges you are facing. Alcoholism affects everyone that loves the alcoholic. Take it one day at a time. That’s how we all get through. And keep an eye out for a silver lining. There’s bound to be one. 🙂 ~Meghan

  4. Dana says:

    I have been here. Right here. 7 radiation and 5 Chemo treatments in. I have wanted to scream at the world “Shut up! Don’t you know I have cancer!”
    20 years later, I sometimes still want to. But joy really is bigger. Life really is so beautiful. And my heart has broken again for other reasons. And I wouldn’t trade the perspective for the ignorance.
    And I still run.
    Grace and peace to you, sister

    • Meghan says:

      Dana, thank you for this comment. Thank you on so many levels. Thank you for letting me know I’m not alone. Thank you for understanding why I want to scream. Thank you for telling me you’re a 20 year survivor (I need to hear those stories so, so much). I’m sorry your heart has broken for other things, but thank you for reminding me life does go on. Thank you for saying the perspective is worth it. And above all, thank you for the encouragement from a fellow runner. From beginning to end, your comment made my day. ~Meghan

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