… is good and very weird.
(p.s. buckle up, this is a long one!)
I can’t believe has been four months since my last cancer update. I’ve been meaning to write a post, but, honestly, I haven’t even known where to start. So many of you have reached out so sweetly asking for an update, but I wasn’t quite sure how to formulate all of my feelings into words. And truthfully I’m still not sure, but for you, I’ll give it a shot….
Life after getting the “all clear” has been so wonderful, but surprisingly much more difficult than expected. We both naively thought as soon as we heard the words, “everything looks good,” we would jump for joy, and be able to move on from this season without a care in the world. And quite frankly, that hasn’t been the case. Did we jump for joy? Oh-my-gosh YES. Did we celebrate? Yes and more yes. But then did we totally and completely freak out?! Y-E-SSSSSSSSS. Ha.
I whole-heartedly believe that there should be a starter course for those who undergo treatment for cancer. Kind of like pre-marital counseling or the book “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”. I vote there should be a mandatory something to help you manage treatment and the life after treatment, because y’all, it’s HARD.
Thankfully, we have been in counseling for years and years (we’re on the forever plan) because we love it and love what it does for our marriage. We joke that it’s our favorite date night of the month. We always leave deeper in love and more understanding of one another than when we showed up. But even then, these past few months have been a mixed bag of PTSD, joy, anxiety, gratefulness, and the overall task of putting our life back together. It has, in short, been WEIRD.
But, before I go any further…
Let me just say, I know first hand that even though this season has been weird, it has been an actual and literal GIFT that we don’t deserve. Not everyone gets to do life after cancer, and we know that. Over this past year we’ve lost loved ones we held hands with during chemo and wept long and hard with friends who’ve been on the wrong side of a prognosis. So please know that I am by no means complaining about our beautiful gift. If anything, I know more than ever before just how precious and wonderful the gift of living is and we celebrate that every day.
But I did think you deserved a bit of the actual, unfiltered truth about what the past few months have looked like.
I think what it really comes down to is that we now know, and have seen, too much. We’ve had to grapple with things that felt so heavy we could barely breathe and hold each other up when we were at our weakest. And over these past few months, at some points, it’s felt like too much.
When you are in a crisis, your mind and body goes into flight or fight mode. You just do, you power through, you fight. But when the crisis is over, you crash, because you need time to process. And that’s exactly what we’ve been doing.
Funnily (and not so funny) enough we dubbed the month of May “Sad May”. We gave ourselves an entire month to just be, meh. To process the past year and not be forced to feel something we didn’t. It is one of my favorite gifts we’ve given ourselves. A whole month of bah-humbug-ing around, and you know what? It felt good. It almost felt reverent to just take a moment to breathe through the past year. I’ll be forever grateful for “Sad May”.
But by the time June rolled around we were READY TO PARTY. We had gotten the “what in the world just happened-ness” out of our systems and we were here for the F-U-N. 😉 We booked trip after trip, filled our calendars to the brim with EVERYTHING and pushed ourselves to the “fun limit” more than once. But after May, it was soul filling.
Then there was July. I feel like July was our month that put us back into equilibrium. We started to find our groove in our post cancer life, and we were able to start putting our life puzzle slowly but surely back together. Sad May was long gone and EXTRA FUN June was fabulous, but not sustainable…. so Perfectly Normal and Wonderful July it was.
Which brings me to this month, today, in August where we are finally getting our groove back. Where we are still overly excitable, emotional, and grateful. I sometimes just cry when I look at him, I’m so happy. But also extremely cautious and anxious. We are just figuring out this new normal, of knowing and seeing and having experienced so much. And I’m okay with that.
What we’ve been through has actually been a gift. We see the entire world differently and I know (and pray) that over time the events of the past year will get a little less sharp. That they will scare us a little less. But I also pray that they won’t completely go away. Living in this new normal is the best normal. It’s messy and weird and complicated, but much more vibrant and beautiful. It is good. Life is, really good.
What Happens Next: Ryan’s scans in July came back clear and last week he had his chemo port removed. We will go for a CT Scan in 2 months, and then another PET Scan in 3 months after that. The crazy scans that after much ado ended up being clear last year are keeping the doctors extra cautious, which we are thankful for, but it’s also nerve wracking. So our prayer right now is for peace as we wait for another set of very clear scans in the next few months.
Catch up on our cancer journey here!