What a strange trip it’s been. The last three weeks have been a recovery of sorts – from the flu and what I am going to attribute as a general freak out due to unrealized angst over the last year compounded by an adverse reaction to tamiflu. In some ways I feel that the dark place I visited was worse than when I had cancer – it was the realization of all that had gone, and how it was going to continue to echo into the future.
We have gone on a belt tightening regime. Happily, our last payment to preschool was processed this week. Our children were accepted into a Mandarin Chinese Immersion program at their public school in what we hope will be an amazing academic and cultural opportunity to make their little brains spongy and their neurons fire and connect. It certainly helps that we see it as a private school education at public school prices. But, one of my biggest challenges in facing that path was the recognition that I would need to be well enough to (a) manage what will be an entirely new educational experience and system for our family (b) ask that the children be willing to spend some time every day academically and (c) commit to learning basic Mandarin so that my children don’t talk in secret circles in front of me.
I don’t know I even admitted it to myself until late last week but it was fear that was influencing my decision on behalf of the children. It was fear that I wouldn’t be able to handle it – that I didn’t know our path and fear of returning to the survival mode of the last year.
It is ironic, then, that I return to surgery in just two weeks. After addressing the fear, after realizing the repercussions of cancer will effect us physically, emotionally, and financially for years, I go back into that scary world of surgeries, hospitals and procedures.
As I am literally flat, I will have expanders put in that will be pumped up over a series of months to stretch my skin. Here my youth will come in handy I hope and make the pain less. Once we have achieved desired fullness, swap out, detailing, and off I go into the future.
This time, right now, I prepare for a trip to Duke to talk about my journey and their programs. I have been asked by the Breast Cancer Resource Center to be featured at the Art Bra event to help them raise money so I prepare that script. )I finished my owl bra entry to raise money – Hooter is below). I get ready to leave the family for my trip to Durham, I cook and clean and work and plan. But there is much I cannot do because of the looming changes.
I have continued on my healthy habits – green smoothie each day, exercising three times a week at least, lots of water, less caffeine. But I can’t ratchet things up (tennis anyone?) because of what will come. I can’t buy new clothes – with the spending freeze actually not a bad thing – because I have no idea what size I will be when this all sorts. I work par ttime for an extraordinary group but know that I will be out of pocket for a couple of weeks and then with questions on my return – how much? how soon?
Oh and I turn 37 in the middle of it all. As the children have pointed out with their glee at learning new math terms – I will go from being even to odd. I feel quite a bit odd already.