The anniversaries in my life are a mix of celebrations and contemplations battling against each other for days on the calendar that I count down towards in both expectation and apprehension.
Stable scans are a win, but they’re a hard win. Scanxiety has entered the chat.
We meet daily for an Old West style shootout. Sometimes at 1:00AM, sometimes at 5:00AM, sometimes mid-day. Just me and Him. No red strings or lucky eye charms. The God I meet is not a Cracker Jack kind of being. No superstitions or silly wand waving. It is just us.
Everyone loves looking at the underside of the stingrays. They have those goofy grins. They look like they’re gently smiling at the world, happily floating along the water. But they always look like that. Their faces are frozen in place like Wybie in Coraline. They look like that all the time. After all, the stingray that killed Steve Irwin was also smiling.
I glanced at my phone and watched as the date changed from May 6th to May 7th and realized, it’s four years later and I am in a hospital, waiting again.
Somewhere between closing the metaphorical door of any traumatic situation and getting sucked into the constant vortex of pain and victimhood, there’s a middle place of relative contentment. Of just understanding that it is what it is.
We alone know that “grueling” reaches a whole new level when it is associated with a ten-hour surgery to extract a brain tumor, and that “waiting,” a word usually associated with boredom, is in fact the most painful word in the English language.
This tumor with all its power to put him into a world of darkness – a world of black and white – cannot kill the colors in his soul. It cannot touch what Coby can still share with the world.
The first time I really noticed Breast Cancer Awareness Month was while I was recovering from a bi-lateral mastectomy and a cancer diagnosis that fast-tracked me into a whole new plane of existence and a new level of intolerance for all things pink and sparkly. Especially ribbons, which seemed to be sprouting off everyone’s lapels like weeds.
I know I am not unique in this. I remember seeing adults crying at weddings and telling myself that I will never be like that, and now, here I am falling apart over smiling pictures of my kids at camp and hiding in my closet so none of my other kids will see.