You good? A question I have been asked a few times this past week. By those who don’t know me well but can see by my bald head that life clearly has gone a tad awry for me but don’t know how or why. Quite like that question. Asks everything yet really expects nothing in return. Allows me to say yip I’m good. I don’t need to answer how I am because then I’d need to think about it and I don’t have the energy. And to be honest the relief in their eyes when I say I’m good is almost palpable and so beautiful I feel good. And so it goes. And in the greater scheme of right now I am good. Really good. The dust is settling on the mayhem of the horror that was. I officially have no evidence of disease, my hair appears to be sprouting, albeit not quite uniformly, but hey its hair. But in the lesser scheme of things I am tired, so very very tired and sore, so very very sore. The cancer meds are not easy to take. The upside is I get to nap most afternoons. The downside is I’m starting to plan my days around those naps. The upside is I’m gaining some clarity in those quiet moments. And there is no downside. Disease is a funny thing, it shocks you awake in a weird way. Facing your mortality opens your eyes in ways you don’t want to see. But also do. It makes you feel foolish for thinking things mattered when really they didn’t. It makes you so very grateful for seeing what matters, for knowing that humanity matters and for how blessed you are and encourages you to let things go with love but with relief. Somethings and some people are happily just not for you. I am me and I am living my truth. Because sincerely life is so very precious and honestly I have no more fucks left to give. For stupidity, narrow mindedness, bigotry, indifference, xenophobia, insincerity, fear and hatred. You go your way. I’m good with that. Really really good.
I was asked about my new tattoo yesterday. I haven’t yet understood my need to mark the insights and the awareness that cancer has brought me onto my skin. Maybe its as simple as a need to make my own beautiful statement rather than only see the ugly scars I had no control over. And don’t worry, I do see those as beautiful too now. But you know. And probably also the realisation of the impermanence of it all. So who really cares? Go mad I say. My beautiful refined heart tattoo is shared by all as I hold my hands up in thanks and gratitude and to honour the love in us all. Notice the play on refined and tattoo and see my wry smile. It is no surprise to those who know me that I admire women. I admire all humanity, but I reserve a special spot filled with admiration for the strength and connectedness that exists among women. Those who allow truth to be their story. And we are blessed with many such women in our family. An uniquely strong bond exists between us all. My sister and I are blessed my brother married our soul sister. And my mother is our reluctant heroine. She is beautiful and difficult and funny and delightful and impossible and has an inner strength we all have inherited. And its that strength that binds us and that allows us to know no matter what, we can do and be anything. We all have two daughters. And all six girls are beautiful creatures, both inside and out. And the bond they share is exquisite in its absoluteness. And without this unique and true sisterhood my life would be incomplete and my strength would be diminished. Cancer made us all look up and see once again the fragility of life and the beauty of love. So we decided to honour this beautiful bond and the love we share and we cherish with an exquisitely delicate heart tattoo, connecting us all in a very personal way. We will all always be one and together nothing is impossible. It symbolises the strength our love gives us all. To carry on. To be the change. To honour ourselves and the love we share each and everyday. To know how strong we are. But most of all it celebrates life. And our gratitude for it all. Its a little heart but what it symbolises is huge.
It’s been a month since my last chemo and four short months since my life was thrown into disarray. I’m not sure if the fact that unless I have to I’m not making it out of bed before 11am has everything to do with my body healing from the onslaught that has just been or my mind refusing to deal with my new reality. I am good and positive and so very grateful and my smiles are real but I am struggling a tad. I started taking the Aromasin, despite really resisting it because of the side effects and because, denial. It’s prescribed for advanced breast cancer in post menopausal women. Me. I lied in my earlier post about getting through the grief at losing who I was and having to accept who I really was and am. Well not really because it was a subtle tongue in cheek post and a huge cry for help. And I know I’m not defined by this but it’s my now moment. Then for some macabre reason last week I purchased a book called Without my mum. You got it, the mom dies of cancer at fifty or thereabouts and the woman has to deal with the reality of being a motherless mother. I don’t like that description. And not only because of what it means. It’s just horrid. Could be other ways of saying the same. A motherless mother. Clearly I’m not wishing that on my girls. I mean really how would they cope. That was meant to be funny. So I took my damn tablet. And will for the next 5 years at least. I could simply exercise even more, sprinkle more turmeric, imagine my cancer leaving my body and hope for the best. Or I can be an even more active participant in what is and what will be. So I’ll do both. The only problem is I have to find a way to get out of bed earlier first.