The in-between. That’s what I’m stuck in right now. No… not the Upside Down like in Stranger Things. Though, sometimes I feel like that.
I’m waiting to see my medical oncologist. It’s my first visit since starting hormone therapy and one of four appointments this week. What people don’t often realize is that once chemo and radiation is over new challenges emerge for cancer survivors. Our fight isn’t over. It’s just a new ring and a new set of boxing gloves we're putting on.
I’m stuck between Herceptin infusions and adjusting to the new me as I try to ease into my life after cancer. As I look around the waiting room I see a lot of hope. Everyone here is fighting… trying to stay abreast… trying to adjust to their new reality. For me, it’s no longer the roller coaster… the one that newly diagnosed patients buckle up for. I’ve, thankfully, gotten off that ride. I’m now on a carousel. I mean, I like carousels but this one is getting a bit monotonous. There’s nothing merry about this merry-go-round. The music may change but the horses still go up-and-down and round-and-round. I can’t get off… yet.
Then there is the angst of anxiety and the fears of relapse that sneak into my head just when I think the ride has slowed down. The random rash. The look at the calendar of appointments. The continued lack of appetite. Each of these these could have any warrior feeling lost navigating a new post-cancer life… leaving them to wonder: What happens if the cancer comes back? Will I ever feel normal again? And most daunting of all, how do I move forward with my life? I’m supposed to be better. So why don’t I feel better? I’m told this is all normal, so I’ll keep going. I see the next finish line in the distance. I know the carousel WILL stop. In the meantime, this cancer thriver will try to enjoy the view from the carousel of courage. The view will sometimes be hazy. Sometimes it’ll be sunny and clear. Either way, there’s comfort in knowing I’m not alone on the carousel.
So, to my fellow warriors out there. To anyone reading this… because we’re all warriors… in our own way. Remember what Steve Harrington in Stranger Things said, “I”m stealthy, like a ninja.” Keep going.