I want to run; I want to scream; I want to bike; I want to cry; I want to lose myself in the woods; I want to be with my best friends; I want to be completely alone; I want to throw up; I want to be everything and nothing. I want one year ago today to have never happened. I want today to not exist.
One year ago today I found out I had cancer. One year later and I no longer have cancer. My marrow is no longer full of leukemic cells. I am now making my own blood, and I am making lots of it. I have changed in so many ways, most of which I can not even explain. One year ago, I was sick, and now I am healthy. But I am so much more than that. I have been pushed to my limit physically, emotionally, mentally, socially. I wouldn't say I've looked death in the eye, and death looked away first, because I haven't. I have thought about death, though, and I know I have caused other people to think about death and the uncertainty of life. I think it is fair to say that I have gone through, and survived, maybe even prevailed, over more trials than I ever thought possible. Every day has been a challenge to think positively. Many days, strangely, many more now that I have finished chemo, I wake up not wanting to face the world. I haven't wanted to leave my room or my apartment, haven't wanted to see other people living their lives, oblivious to pain and certainly not noticing me.
I wish a year ago today had never happened. But it did happen, so now what? So now, I get to keep going. I get to go to school; perhaps I will even graduate. I get to live with the multitude of small scars on my chest and lower back. I get to understand others' pains because I have Been There. I get to live with the certainty that I can beat anything. Even if I forget sometimes, there is nothing that can keep me down. I know how important it is to listen to my body. If I am hungry, I eat (a lot). I sleep when I'm tired (usually). Possibly the most important thing I need to take from this is how important it is to listen to what my body is yelling at me. We are complicated machinery, and our bodies have a fantastic system of internal communication. When something is terribly not right, there will be messages. We all need to heed those messages. Not become paranoid, necessarily, but at least be aware of what we need to do for ourselves. Now, I just hope I remember what I've learned.
Also: I wouldn't have made it through these past twelve months without my family, friends, and everyone who has supported me or even thought about me or sent a prayer my way. Thank you all. I have realized just how important my friends are to me. We all need each other, every single day. I've needed a bit more, and thank you for giving it. And to every person who has told me I look good with short hair: Thank you so much for making my day all the time! I've lost a lot of confidence in my appearance, and it's nice to occasionally be reminded that I am just being silly.
I am having a party at my apartment tonight, "Holidazed." I worked this morning. I won't say I've had a great day, because there's this whole bit sort of hanging over it, but I have had a good day. I can't wait for my party, to actually be among my friends. I wish everyone I know could be here, enjoying my chicken chili and not-so-tasty gingerbread cookies (and beer...), but thank you for being with me these past months. I am not finished with this stupid disease yet, but the worst part is over, and now it's just wait and see what tomorrow brings. Peace, pax, however you say it. Enjoy life.