This is what is on my mind.
Yesterday, I said final goodbyes to two bald women, one wearing a scarf, a blond beautician who rides a Harley, and my black friend with the hook hand, Willie. I finally learned his first name. I only knew him as Mr. Miller.
I took homemade donuts for the wonderful people who have had the fortune/misfortune, of moving my breast around the last four weeks. I promised I would put my shirt on before I hugged them.
And yes, I did it, again. My official doctor entered the room and I flashed him. Held my shirt up.
He about died and then said, “I would say it is looking good, but that might not be appropriate.”
“Matt Lauer would have said it,” I said.
Then he asked for an official, one last look.
Red. A bit of peeling. But really very good.
We chatted about instructions and cream and that if I needed anything, let him know, made my appointment in two weeks to see if I had regained more of a human color.
As he shook my hand, as he has done before, I had the same response in my mind. “Damn that hand is cold and clammy and wimpy and I wouldn’t want to have sex with him.”
What can I say? It was on my mind.
Before my treatment, when I was kibitzing with the others who were waiting, I made Willie, blush and smile the biggest smile I have seen in four weeks.
“Willie, I said, “ You are lucky I am not going to be here tomorrow because that is when I was going to ask you about your sex life.”
Everyone cracked up and Willie laughed. I think he blushed. He is 76 and I get the feeling he still enjoys a little piece of pie, now and again.
Before I walked out the door on my journey into Cancerland, I was given a certificate. Yes, suitable for framing, certificate that said I had finished radiation, and it didn’t finish me.
i was then taken to the bell. On the wall that people ring after their last treatment. Ding. Ding. Ding.
Off I drove to life’s highway and next adventure.
In the car, I had on my music. “Silent Night’began playing when I was driving.
I felt that song. I gulped and my eyes got a bit misty. But I didn’t cry. I was peaceful with all that has transpired the last four months. Grace is what I felt.
It is weird that you can feel love from people you barely know. But I must say, I have felt loved, not just by my family, but by every person I have come in contact with in this season of life.
Life, in all of its good glory, misfires, sadness and inexplicable horror, is a learning experience. We make choices. We can fold our arms tightly across our chest, close our bruised and broken hearts and say, no, I will not feel anymore hurt. And become numb, closed and robot-like.
Or, we can choose to open our arms and heart, wide, to gather goodness that is around us.
I have tried both.
Outstretched arms are much better.
It isn’t a romantic or sexual love. It is quieter, with no expectations. it is camaraderie, acceptance and acknowledgement that we exist.
The professionals who worked on me, want me to live. They want me to ring that bell and go out into the world, radiating Sunbeams on everyone I meet.
I grew through this. I learned things to say and when to keep my mouth shut and listen.
It is funny. I met people with different stages of cancer and prognosis. Each of us felt blessed.
None of us was woe is me or why me. It is … is because it is.
We were each born and someday, we will die. That is a given. I figure, one day, I will wake up dead. (I will write about it)
But until then, I will be open to love. Open to change. Open to pain and feelings of great tidings and love.
And that is what is on my mind.