My “New Year” doesn’t start, I’ve decided, until April, when it’s been a full year around the sun since that doc sat us down and delivered the news for certain.
F January 1, don’t tell me what day to start fresh! Yes, it’s nice to have a marker for change but Jan 1 ain’t it for me. You can’t tell me this is a New Year New Me when I still got up in the dark this morning to lay on a cold, noisy radiation machine, bare chested with a johnny pulled down, while getting prodded and shifted around like a rag doll. I’ve had 23 radiation sessions so far. Seven to go. Hallelujah. How are the ladies you may ask? Well my boob is red but not too irritated; it looks like a sunburn, like I forgot to put sunblock on a large square of my chest.
The New Me (sarcasm, thick, thick sarcasm) had to email my doctors last night freaked out because I’ve noticed I’ve been dropping things. Keys, my phone, pens. Clumsiness it is not, especially when the other day I felt a tingling up my arm like it was asleep, which would be normal if I was laying on my ass but I was jogging at the time. My oncologist replied that it’s neuropathy (nerve damage), a latent side effect of the chemo, 4 months post, and it *should* fade over time. This is a relief to hear and to hope for, as I was imagining myself with a double whammy of MS or ALS and losing all motor function. That’s what happens now; a slight pain turns into a(nother) life altering, incapacitating illness.
I spent last New Year’s crying in the shower and feeling the urge to write about my dad and the remainder of 2016 navigating a shitstorm of sickness, poison, worry, my mother’s brain surgery, panic and loss of things like my dignity and eyelashes (those are barely hanging on, thin and weird, along with my eyebrows.) Seeing myself with no eyelashes might appear more freakish in the mirror than having no hair. Maybe not. But anyway, the head hair is coming; I can see a blanketing, an aggregation of color. Not quite GI Jane-status yet, but almost. Wooo!
But let me tell you that 2016 was not, on the whole, a terrible 365 days. To throw away a precious year of your life--focusing on the downs--strips the ups of their mojo and importance. I don’t need 9 Instagram photos, a Flipagram montage, or a melodramatic paragraph trashing/redeeming/exhulting this past year. [I can just write in this blog and use fancy words like “aggregation!”] and to be honest, it kind of pissed me off to see other people whine so sweepingly, so generically, about 2016. Sure everyone’s got their stuff and Carrie Fisher was a badass but I have just one question, was Alan Thicke your dad?
I choose to acknowledge the ups, the replacements, or removals, that have resulted from all this.
Basically, I replaced this thrum of nothingness that was becoming an undercurrent of my day-to-day with a lightness. Though it’s not always lightness, there’s a worry setting is more often “on" than before, but when I can get past that, it’s a wondrous thing.
Plus, in 2016 we bought a freaking house! A haven, a home, a retreat, in a town that is painfully beautiful. Painfully. I watch sunsets over the water and run across these ridiculously quaint footbridges that cover sprawling creeks and my heart practically stops at the sight of it all, at the fortune I feel for having pushed to live somewhere so unique, so lovely.
On to 2017, and on, more specifically for me, to April.