Talking to a fellow survivor today
about how I worked through the treatment,
kept my schedule packed. Determined to be
the best cancer patient ever. As if that were
possible, or came with a prize. Probably should
have taken more days off, but at least
it was distracting, juggling classes and kids
and chemo. No time to wallow, running
from surgery to radiation to hosting the entire
extended family for Christmas Day. Kept
my spirits up, but sometimes I fell down.
Sometimes I had to stop. Let my body
become an indentation on the couch, wait
for the strength to come back to arms
and legs. I ran and ran and ran until
I collapsed. I am not a runner but cancer
was a marathon. And the funny thing
is that treatment ended a full year ago,
and they’ve let me go back to yearly
mammograms, but I just kept running.
Resting only when I had no choice.
Breathe. This is my job now. Slow down,
enjoy the children, the partners, the body
that is creaking its way into middle-age, but
basically holds up. No need for distraction tv —
there’s nothing too frightening to look at now.
Read the difficult books. Walk in the woods
without even a camera. Write the novel.
Give over the paralysis of the last years,
the fear that this draft can’t possibly be
good enough. Write it badly. Be inefficient.
Trust that there will be time to fix it.
If there isn’t, whatever is done will be enough.