The last time I was at my gyn-oncologist, she asked me if I was still doing a thousand things at one time. I smiled because I knew it was a compliment and a testament to how I’ve been feeling energetic and healthy. I said, “Of course”, and told her of all the things I’ve been kneading and molding into my life.
There was full-time teaching, then teaching at the community college at night, and finishing up my MFA in fiction. I bragged about how I accomplished my summer goal of potty training Shiloh, the MAGOPSA baby, and how I was sad one of my favorite members of their practice was now gone. As I looked up to the ceiling and missed the plastic butterflies of their old office while getting dressed, the changes around me really began to hit.
After setting the next appointment, I wandered to the infusion center in this new building and didn’t recognize anything. Though the carpet odor was gone, the familiarity was also gone. I didn’t think I’d miss it, but I did. Don’t get me wrong – I didn’t miss chemotherapy or all the trauma, but I missed the familiar faces and halls that saved my life. I couldn’t just walk in and say hello and hug the nurses who have seen the transition from sick, to bald, to healthy.
Late that night, Shiloh curled up to me as he fell asleep. Before cancer ever reared its ugly head into our lives, I always naively said I wouldn’t be one of those co-sleeping parents. I would want my own space. Then for a while, we were all in survival mode. Though I’ve said this before, I finally feel like I’m healthier than I’ve ever been. In the last few days, several of our closest friends and family have commented on how I looked good – good meaning healthy and vibrant. That has also been a mind shift.
As Shiloh’s breathing slowed to the purr of slumbering breaths in the dark, his little toes softly searched for my leg to make sure I was still there. Though I couldn’t look at the clock, I knew it was close to 10. I worked late setting up my classroom for the new school year, went to my appointment afterward, and there were still two assignments lingering which were due at midnight Denver time for my two grad classes. My brain began calculating the points which would be lost if I didn’t get up and do the assignment, but my resolve crumbled as Shiloh’s little voice squeaked “sleep Mommy” and his soft toddler hands found my face. I chose to lose the small points rather than the seconds with my child.
I do a lot – I mean A LOT A LOT – but I thrive off of staying busy and feeling accomplished. I bloom under chaos, and yes, sometimes even crash hard, but I’m not sure I’d change any of it. Sometimes, I feel if I’m not doing then I’m not living my second chance at life. However, I’ve learned that I can’t be excellent in every area – and it’s coming to terms with that which is hard but also part of balancing my life and reshifting. I know myself, and in order to be healthy emotionally, I need to be working toward a goal – so in the deepest part of my recovery from chemotherapy, I started my Masters in Creative Writing to channel those loose emotions. I’m almost finished, but I’ve realized that I can’t be excellent in every area. I mean, I’d LOVE to, but we all only have our own capacity – emotional and physical – to what we can do. Though my capacity is more than the average person since I feel I’m a hummingbird just going to each an every new flower, I know even I have limits and something’s got to give. So I let those loose points for the assignments fall away, and for that class I received a 79%, bringing my overall GPA for my second masters to a B+, but it was worth the time laying next to Shiloh.
Sometimes we have to be okay with knowing our limits. I’m not good at it, but I’m trying.