Forgetting and remembering.
Anything can become normal, if you give it a little time. We humans are amazing in that way.
A month ago, I was struggling. Feeling fine and not fine, holding fear and normalcy together in my hands. And then it passed. Days blended into days, my routine becoming normal, back to living my life. It was easy to ignore, easy to forget. I felt normal, I was encouraged to return to all my activities and live my life. I didn’t have doctor’s visits. I woke early each morning to take my faux-ho, as someone recently called the synthetic hormone replacement, but I felt fairly normal. It was easy to forget.
It was easy to forget this thing, this cancer that could still be in my body. My scar doesn’t hurt unless I accidentally touch it or stretch my neck in some weird way. I get up to run some days, while also accepting that maybe I don’t have to push it so far. I go about my life – going to work; being enraged by the news; spending my time with my man, delighting in being with him, getting to know him, getting to know myself with him – getting to know us; finding time to connect with friends; watching the season spin past; delighting in the leaves falling from the trees.
It is easy to forget.
But then, thyroid cancer seems to be everywhere. When once I never really knew about it, now it is all over the place. I meet a woman who had half her thyroid removed 8 months ago. Another friend who had it 20 years ago. Another friend who has a faulty thyroid and so she takes faux-ho, we compare doses one night over wine.
Even the subway reminds me.
And then, there is the one friend who has a different cancer, one that was in remission for 5 years, but it has come back with a vengeance and ferocity that stuns me in her description of it.
But then, another friend has gotten the all clear for her potential cancer.
And so I remember.
I remember because I am waiting. Waiting for my next steps. I wait for a scan, a scan of my whole body to tell me where cancer has spread to. And maybe it hasn’t spread anywhere. Or maybe what was seen on my lungs is indeed cancer. Or maybe not. Who nows. I don’t know. I can’t tell. And there is nothing for me to do. But wait.
I remember because I am on a slow roll, a downwards descent, into hypothyroidism, having had to stop take my medicine a little over a week and a half ago, another week and a half until I should bottom out, my body depleted of all thyroid-producing hormones. A slow roll into low metabolism, sensitivity to the cold, lethargy, weight gain, depression. A temporary place, but one needed to find out my next steps.
I remember because anxiety has crept back into my days, though anxiety isn’t part of the physical manifestation that low thyroid levels are known for, yet here nonetheless. Creeping in, making a mess of my brain. I work to feel my feet on the ground, breathing in, counting my breaths, starting my days with meditation. And, still, I remember. I remember what is at stake. And I remember that I should be fine. I remember my friend who is going through chemo now. I remember that I have the best cancer, the easy cancer. I remember the fear and the uncertainty. I remember the gratitude and the appreciation of my people, surrounding me with love and support. I remember that I am bored by this fear, that I want to move on, to live this little life.
Sometimes I want to forget, but instead, I am forced into remembering and being here, now, with it all. Whatever it is, whatever comes – and remembering to keep my feet firmly planted, as it will pass, and soon I will forget, again.