Stronger by Now

I thought I’d be stronger by now.

When I was sitting in a hospital bed in the infusion clinic, my skin pale and puffed with Taxol, Cisplatin, and Carboplatin, I looked forward to warm weather. Cancer tried to take me as the weather grew cold, and I knew my horizon was among the budding flowers and blazing sun to come. I yearned to be unplugged and away from the snow blanketed streets and medical buildings.

It’s been in the 90s in Virginia for the past week. The sweat slaps my shirt against my body and my shoes skip across the broiling gravel sidewalks. Most days, I still have to take four hour naps – which my oncologist says is normal. I’m still popping pills to feel “normal” – though I don’t even know what that word means anymore. My wrists click painfully as I type as I wait for the Gabapentin to kick in today.

It’s easy to slump into depression. It’s been lurking in the shadows the last few days trying to suck me back into a white hospital bed and hook me up to IV lines. I won’t lie – I’ve been jealous of flowing locks and curled pieces of hair on the side of bathtubs. I see people jogging when I know just a walk takes my air. I need something.

I am goal motivated. In the deep of winter, my brother asked me what I wanted to do after chemo – I said go to the beach and go back to work. I’ve done both. Now, I’m in this odd recovery period where I’m stronger than I was but weaker than I want to be. My mind is sharp again, not fogged by coursing medicine, but my body is slow. I need a body goal.

I’ve thought about taking those free exercise classes for cancer patients. I’ve signed up for them but have never gone. I should probably start there, but I think eventually I’d like to train for Taekwondo again. I have my black belt, and I know it would be crazy to step into a gym right now – but I want to make it my goal. I want to show myself that I can rise out of the desolation of cancer with flying fists. I am not there yet – but I will be – one step at a time.

One thought on “Stronger by Now

  1. You are stronger now than you realize. Don’t worry about the physical, it will come bit by bit. The mental strength you project is amazing. Be patient, cancer and it’s treatment ravages our bodies. The recovery process is like a rickety wooden roller coaster, full of twists, excruciatingly slow climbs, and stomach wrenching falls. Eventually the ride ends though and you will come out much stronger than you began.


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