Those of us who have had the amazing gift and grace to be parents will remember car trips with our kids. We once had a ginormous van with bucket seats, individual lights, heat, and air-conditioning controls front and back seats--perfect for long trips. But despite the luxury I remember the dreaded phrase, "Are we THERE yet? How much longer? I have to pee. I need a new action figure, I'm hungry."
I would hand out books to read, snack bars, and sometimes throw little riddles written on scraps of paper rolled up in an old film container to my kids in the back. Wonderful days. Tiring days. Days when you shoveled everyone into bed, hoping you hadn't damaged their tiny psyches for life and longing for the oblivion of bed.
But now I am in the "Recovery" stage from cancer; from 3 separate kinds (in case you are interested), 2 cancer surgeries (in case you want to know,) and many months of chemo--carbo/taxol (in case you are interested). Things are better, no question about it. I am not kvetching about where I am now. Far from it. I am grateful for: the marvelous medical treatment I received; the support of friends, family, and faith community; the love of my dog; the beauty outside our decks; God's love; and the fact that I am upright, walking around, and still cooking and praying, two of my favorite activities. Outside of sex and talking with my honey.
But here's the thing--I am an impatient broad, and I want it to be OVER already. I am so done with fatigue, wobbly legs, foggy brain, strange hair, and the sense that my life is still on hold until I know if the cancer is really gone. I feel like someone who has begun a conversation on the phone when suddenly a voice interrupts, "Can you please hold?" I am on hold, waiting for someone to pick up the phone and resume the conversation. I realize I am mixing my metaphors here, but I have chemo brain. I have a free Hall Pass for the next, oh, two years, maybe five.
I had lunch recently with a close woman friend who is recovering from major surgery who complained, "I can't believe I still have to take naps. I get so tired. I can't even grocery shop." I get it.
We both want to be beyond the recovery stage. We want our old lives back, whatever that means. I'd like to take up running again, but suspect that won't happen. I'd like to think about writing a book about cancer and tarting up my blog, but I don't have the spoons for it yet. (Remember: www.butyoudontlooksick.com) My friend would like to go for long walks on the bike path, make luscious dinners, sing in the church choir, and generally have way more energy and strength.
Me too. I am like my kids from long ago, waiting restlessly in the back seat, kicking my heels and sucking up the dregs of
my Micky D's pepsi, asking, "Are we there yet? When will we be THERE?"