Christmas Tree circa 2009
I took the Christmas Tree down yesterday. I know, you’re saying, “You took the Christmas Tree down in May? What were you waiting for?”
Well actually, I normally keep our tree up all year long and decorate it for each season. Unfortunately, for the last 2 years I haven’t felt up to changing the decorations with each season so it has sat there with only its Christmas lights on it looking sad and neglected with half of the lights burned out, but I’d faithfully turn it on every night. In a way it became a security blanket for me. To me it represented normalcy even if it wasn’t what it once quite was.
I took it down yesterday. I talked about taking it down for months but yesterday was the day. I don’t know why yesterday was the day I finally got the gumption to take it down, but it was. The poor tree was covered in dust and filthy. It had sat there for 2 years unattended to but loved so very much. It was my comfort item. In a way I’m sad that it’s gone but then I look around the living room and I love the space it being gone frees up. It feels like letting go.
I suppose I should also tell you that I spent the other part of yesterday making my next round of medical appointments; blood work and 2 MRIs in June, follow-up appointments with the oncologist, neurosurgeon, and plastic surgeon in July. I’m coming toward the end of my 6 weeks of physical therapy and I am feeling good. As I’ve noted in my many late National Photo Month posts I am sleeping through the night, which is incredible. I’ve had epic runs of insomnia over the past 2 years with patches of less than fitful sleep in between. But now I’m sleeping soundly almost 8 hours every night and I feel great.
I’m feeling good. I feel like a fog has lifted, like I’ve come out of a coma or maybe a deep depression. The physical therapy has given me the use of my left arm back. I’m feeling stronger. I wish the doctors had prescribed physical therapy of some sort when I came out of the hospital in October 2010 if only to get me moving. The physical therapy is helping in so many other ways than just fixing my shoulder. I feel like I’m accomplishing something. I have a sense of purpose. I feel like I’m doing something to help make myself better.
1 biopsy, 4 CAT scans, 4 MRIs, 5 surgeries, 6 weeks of physical therapy, and 32 radiation treatments (not in chronological order) later I am starting to feel normal. But then a day like yesterday arises; a day when I vacuum and I do laundry and I take the not-quite-itself Christmas Tree down just hours after making my medical appointments and I wonder what is normal? For the next 2 years I will have to have MRIs every 3 months to check if the cancer has come back. It’s been a little over a month since my last follow-up with the oncologist and I’m feeling good so I have moments, days, weeks even when I can sort of forget and let go of the fear and the anxiety and then there are days like yesterday when I face forward, put my security blanket away and hope for the best.
I put the Christmas Tree away and for now that has to be enough.