07 October 2008

oh......hello there.

How should I start the blog entry that I've been writing in my head for the past 7 months?

Hi there… I've missed you guys...?

To be honest, I'm a little worried that I'm jumping the gun here by starting up the ol' blog again. Are we in the clear yet? Can we relax yet?

I just couldn’t bring myself to write about a new pair of socks or a sweater when in the background, I was dealing with some pretty highly major stuff. I had thought of using my blog to keep a journal of how I was feeling and what we were going through - but I couldn't do it. I can’t say why, exactly – I often had this feeling of not wanting to take ownership of what (I felt) was mostly Gord’s experience. I didn’t want to be the bridesmaid taking attention away from the bride. Because the thing is - although Gord & I have spent pretty much every single day together since December, I still have no idea what he experienced, and the same can be said for him & what I went through. What if I told the story all wrong?

When people would say to me “It must be so hard on you…” I would tell them it was a lot harder on Gord. But if I ever stopped to think about it, I would break down, sort of crumble under the pressure, be overcome by the weight of what was going on – and that was never any fun for Gord or myself. The truth is, it was hard for me. Real hard.

When Gord was diagnosed, I spent many restless nights, putting all my thoughts & feelings into smart, quick sentences in my head. "I'll write a 'This American Life' style radio documentary about when my boyfriend got cancer & how I was his hilarious side-kick!" I never wrote any of it down, I don't remember anything clever I thought of. And to be honest, it didn’t take long before I had no energy to be witty & clever. I pretty much went on Auto-Pilot.

I've learned that the human brain is an amazing and merciful thing. My surface memory has no recollection of how I handled it all - when I really think about it though, I can feel my heart sink the way it did when I first heard the doctor say that the mystery illness was most likely malignant. I can see myself crying on the steps leading up to our apartment after holding it all in at the hospital & on the cab ride home. I can hear myself telling my family on the phone - sobbing - not knowing what I was going to do - how I was ever going to be strong enough to get through this & be the kind of support Gord needed? But we did it - the only way you can do something like this - one day at a time, with your eye on the prize. It wasn't always pretty & there were times, I'm sure, when he doubted my ability as caretaker and I doubted my strength to be one. There were times when I just wanted to give everything the finger & find a big, deep hole, put on giant headphones & curl up for a while. I was tired for months.

The thing I had to keep reminding myself of was this: Time never stops… a day is always made up of the same number of hours which are always made up of the same amount of minutes which will always & forever be 60 seconds which will never stop. Life does go on, we will get through this, and tomorrow is & always will be another day. You can’t finish a sweater without knitting every stitch. The journey of a thousand miles begins with…yadda yadda yadda.

To say that I’ve changed a lot in the past year(!) is a humongous understatement – and what’s nice & convenient is that I enjoy & welcome most of these new personal changes. I was always a fairly selfish person - a hard thing to fess up to, but I can say now that my selfishness has been cut into a quarter of its previous size. I still come first, but in a totally different way. I am slowly reintegrating myself into my social circles, I’m smiling a lot, joking tons, and I have a heart full of love and appreciation for those that stuck by us in such difficult times. I can honestly say that I am Happy. We are Happy. Gord is in the maintenance phase of his chemotherapy (this lasts a whopping 72 weeks, but there's promise of it being a fair bit easier than the last 9 months), and I think we've come out of the tough bits as a solid, awesome(er) couple. And I also know that my boyfriend is really, really fucking strong. I’m exceedingly proud of him, and of me (insert power couple highfive here).

I’ve written and re-written this entry a number of times – and each draft is more edited than the last. I think I’ll keep this one though, and just sum everything up with this: Cancer Sucks. Srsly. But I recently read an encouraging line that I wish I had heard at the beginning of all of this: "The Strength behind you is far greater than the challenge ahead of you." We'll be oficially in the clear come December 2009. Still quite a long way off - but we can do it, I know we can.

So, if you'll have me back, buddies, I'd like to reclaim my little corner of the internet. After all, I have a lot of knitting braggery to catch up on.