It’s Tuesday, December 18th, and I’m currently having (or recovering from, whenever you’re reading this) my 5th surgery in barely over a year. Yes, it was unexpected, and yes, it’s related to my boobs, but no, it’s not because my cancer has returned or anything super scary or life-threatening like that. The doctor thinks, actually, that my body rejected one of the dissolvable stitches and now, almost 3 months past the date of that surgery, it’s taken the form of a, um, well…I’ll spare you the details, actually, because they’re pretty gross.
Now, you know me, guys. Even if you’re new ‘round these parts, you probably still know about my annoying optimism, my cheery disposition, and my ability to see the silver lining in practically every situation. Well, while those pieces are still in tact as much as they can be after having the year I’ve had, I feel broken.
This cancer has broken my spirit and my body, acting like a, well, cancer (well played, cancer, well played) on me and everyone I love. And while I know we’re fighters, I wholeheartedly agree with my mother-in-law when she said “enough is enough.” Enough is enough indeed, Ma. Just when I thought that we were through the tunnel (y’know, the one with the light on the other side of it?), I’m pulled back into it, looking into the distance to find that illumination.
It feels really, really far away.
I’d be lying to you if I appeared here with my ukulele and another song, smiling through it all. I’d be lying to you if I said this didn’t feel different, exhausting, brokenhearted, and at the breaking point of the why-me-o-meter. I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you it’s creeped into the areas of my life that usually aren’t challenging – the parts that allow me not to compare myself to others, the parts that allow me to feel nothing but joy for the happy people around me, the parts that don’t want to spend entire days hiding under the covers.
That’s how I’m feeling now. That’s how the worst year of my life is ending. And while I know that the spent-ness that’s been living here for the past week or so will go, and I’ll start coming back to myself and be the Michelle we all know and love (or will I? will this be my new disposition?), I couldn’t not write this post. Give you this update. Let you know that I have these dark times despite what I present to you. That this is still me – dimmed, sick of it, spent – but me.
I think I also had to write this to let myself know that I’m still here.
I’ve been toying with the idea of a getting a tattoo on my wrist. A pink bow – a take on the breast cancer ribbon, and a reminder to take care of myself as well as all I’ve overcome. I haven’t done it because I know it’s dumb right after surgery, what with the risk of infection and all, but I find it odd that I want it at all.
I will always be a survivor. I’ll never forget it. It’s now part of my identity…musical theater performer, Jew from Long Island, The When I Grow Up Coach, wife, sister, daughter, ukulele player, author, young boob cancer survivor. Even though I wrote it before, I feel it more than ever:
This will always be my fight.
My Mom said to me last week, “Did we ever think we were this strong?” and I responded, “I wish we never had to find out.”
P.S. Don’t think I’m going to abandon you guys for the remainder of 2012. I’ll be back on Thursday with my Word of the Year, and hopefully next week with my 2012 By The Month. I might be quiet and lagging a bit, but being The When I Grow Up Coach is both the release and my relief, and I can’t wait to get back to it/you.