“It’s that knife-edge of uncertainty where we come alive to our truest power.”
-lady from a documentary I watched a year ago and saved the quote. (Sorry, don’t know who she is…)
Do I agree with this? If I’m being honest, it really depends on the day. Things have felt turbulent lately, and I have been more anxious, more sensitive, and certainly more tearful than usual. I have my scan this month, following this last month and a half of dose reductions and scheduling adjustments of ibrance due to neutropenia. I have discontinued the Chinese herbs I was getting from a Doctor in California due to the inconvenience, terrible taste, and cost. I have been a little lax on certain things (like a decrease in the overall number of salads per week), and a little more diligent in other respects (like personal training 2 times a week, gym 5-6). I am quite nervous for this scan because of all of these shifts. And because I’m on so many supplements and drugs, it’s hard to pinpoint which of those things aid in keeping me alive, which are inconsequential and therefore not worth sticking to (and of course, which might be harmful, though fingers crossed that none of them are- with the exception of the pharmaceuticals and the laundry lists of side effects). This constant fear and uncertainty around my treatment, around my life, and around my death weighs heavy on my mind and on my heart. And yet I’m here. I’m living and I’m loving and I’m tremendously aware of the fragility of it all. Sometimes that awareness makes me anxious and sharp-tongued and angry and explosive and sad. And sometimes it makes me completely grateful for the entirety of it. The uncertainty is a gnawing ache in the center of my chest, the clenching in my abdomen, the tears in my eyes. But this is my life now, and I’d take grappling with uncertainty and fear with the support of loved ones any day over the alternative (not being here and therefore having nothing to be uncertain about). If someone had told me that I would be diagnosed with a cancer typically seen in 60 year old women at the age of 26, become terminal at 27, go through the hell of chemotherapy and come out alive with a thirst for meaning and life greater than ever before, I would have said, “No way, I would have killed myself at diagnosis. No way I would have let that shit drag out”. But “that shit” has been some of the most beautiful, tender, moving, powerful, soul-opening moments of my entire life.
Sometimes cancer is background noise. Sometimes it’s center stage. I am grateful for both positions and spaces it occupies. Because I am here. With breath in my lungs- the same lungs, peppered with cancer. I am here.
“Don’t be afraid of your heart breaking open. The heart that breaks open can hold the whole universe.”