Having cancer was easier to accept when I had no hair. If ever I needed a reminder of what was going on inside my body all I had to do was look in a mirror and there was cancer staring right back at me. It's not that simple anymore. Appearance wise, I'm fine. I'm not at my all time best, but at least I no longer look like the Sloan Kettering poster child. Only when I go to perform an activity that requires endurance am I acutely aware of my physical limitations.
Yesterday a few friends came over for a BBQ and everything was perfect; the food, the weather and especially the company. After a morning of running around to get everything ready, I was prepared to sit and relax poolside. I sensed the fatigue approaching but I was determined to push through it. As the day progressed from water gun fights in the pool to eating lunch while discussing a certain trashy novel, I couldn't fight it anymore. Joe always says that my eyes give everything away, so I slipped on my sunglasses hoping for a bit more time before anyone noticed. It felt like watching sand run through an hourglass. I knew soon my body would give out but I wanted to feel normal just a little while longer.
It was early in the evening when I dropped my friends off at the train; waiving goodbye as I watched them board. I thought about their plans for the rest of the night; one friend had a date, one was going out to dinner, the rest were playing it by ear. I remembered a time when I would have had those same plans. Now, I could barely keep my eyes open as I drove home. When I walked in the door I took off my sunglasses and looked in the mirror. There it was again, cancer staring right back at me. My eyes were bloodshot and my face was drained of any color. I looked tired. No, worse than tired; I looked beaten. I sat on the couch, put my head back and felt the tears running down my face. I was crying not just from the exhaustion but from the frustration of my body once again failing me. But was it really failing me or am I failing my body by trying to push it beyond it's current abilities? Why can't I accept the fact that I have cancer and my body needs time to recover from fighting this battle? Why do I see acceptance as surrender? My mom's favorite line to me was, "You would argue with the dead!" In a way I guess I'm still doing that. My body is telling me what it needs and I'm basically saying "fuck off", as usual. I realize I'm never going to win this if I keep resisting.
Ok so this weekend's lesson is about control. There are some things I can control and others that I can't. I can't control the fact that I have cancer. I can control my ability to listen to my body when it tells me to ease up. It's just that I've always had a problem taking orders, even from my own body! Maybe I need to read 'Fifty Shades of Grey' to learn to be a little more submissive ;-)