It's amazing how long a body can stare at a computer screen. It's amazing how absolutely everything and nothing can change with a simple word. These are still my hands. This is still my home. My hair still always matts in the back and sometimes I still forget to breathe.
For those who have not known me too long, nearly four years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was a shock, it was terrifying, it was all those things one might imagine when that deceptively small word crops up. I spent one long year in treatments, was given a handful of hand-knit beanies for my bald head and finally the stamp of health. I was also given a number of new scars, now pale and slightly puckered. I don't mind those so much, for what are scars but the proof that we have survived?
The week before Christmas I received the results from the latest MRI and was immediately scheduled for a slew of texts and scans. In short, the cancer has come back, this time metastasized into my bones. All those mysterious pains through my spine, ribs, shoulder blade, hips, left leg, all those unknown moments when doctors scratched their heads and threw up their hand, all those times it was actually cancer. Now here is the good news (because fuck, a story like this needs a bright beacon of good news): all my major organs appear healthy and clean, and Plan A of treatments has already begun. Halleu. As a wise friend of mine said upon hearing the news, "And now the work begins." And she wasn't just talking about cellular mutations.
A few weeks ago I said I wanted to bring you truth, not just prettiness, not just strength, not just the best moments of a life intentionally lived. The universe is officially calling me out. And so here is my truth, authentic and uncensored: I'm laying down on the sofa, trying to keep a banana down so I can take my morning meds, typing with one hand because the radiation, just one day in, is already kicking my ass. I'm scared. I'm angry. But more than those two things, I'm a fighter. A fierce fucking warrior woman. I'm an optimist, a preacher of the hope that perches in the soul. I'm a survivor and I don't lay down and roll over. Ever.
Every single one of us is fighting a very hard battle. For whatever reason, this is part of mine. There is no skirting the edge of this storm; the lightning must be passed through. But here is the other half of my truth: I can not, I choose not, to walk this path alone. I am surrounded by such a host of sister-warriors and brother-fighters, and I know that even in the midst of this, I am deeply blessed indeed. THAT is what I choose to hold unto, THAT is what will see me through the long nights. I have much good work still to do and I am determined to bring it all to life.
Posts here may be thin over the next few months, but know you are never far from my thoughts. The beauty of community here, the kindreds I've grown close to over the interwebs, supports my heart and head in ways I could never have imagined. As you read this, know that I thank you for being here, for hearing my words, for being a vibrant, beating piece of the whole of our time, our stories, our lives intertwined.
Namasté you glorious soul,