I Cried Not Once, But Twice.

I already cried once today but then it happened again. I guess there’s a couple of leaks in the dam.

The first cry was a surprise. I was feeling in a funk today. It was not identifiable and I couldn’t shake it. To change my energy, I called my mom to chat and check in. About 10 minutes in it just started flowing, the emotions, the words and the tears to cleanse them all. It was so cathartic to release what I couldn’t identify was in me and was wanting to get out.

Last night at a lovely Beltane (Beltrain wink to AP) we had the most amazing conversations. They were open, and vulnerable, and funny all the same. In an unexpected moment, I shared that although I am so solid in my decision moving forward with treatment, the more I read and learn the more I realize how dire my case is in the eyes of the mainstream. I try very hard to not take that label or identity from the literature and statistics, and it is not easy. In that moment sharing among friends I welled up at the table and started to cry. It wasn’t inappropriate and they were so lovely holding space for me. I am thinking back to the doctor who walked into the office to meet me for a pre-op visit and he stopped in his tracks from surprise when he looked at me and said “You were not what I was expecting from reading your file.” We had a great conversation and he complimented me on my attitude. Where I replied with a smile “I only have so many choices.”

I have normalized cancer, stage IV cancer, so much that I sometimes forget what those words sound like and looks like from the outside. My mother said just today “You have always walked to your own beat, baby.” I feel that.

The second cry of the day with with my very dear friend. She is flying down and staying with me the first few days to help me settle in at Hope4Cancer. I will also appreciate her crazy medical nerd mind to be on task as we learn about so many new things. This evening, we were checking in talking about my care plan and flights when it happened again. All the tears and thoughts being felt real time. This time it was more of a “know better, do better” grief coming to the surface.

I am able to identify the “know better, do better” grief because I remember the feeling from my early days learning all I could about childbirth to help others as a doula and educator. There was a unhinged feistiness in my early twenties the more I learned and deeper I fell down the rabbit hole to what became a very successful 20+ year career in helping others navigate the overwhelming world of pregnancy and childbirth and feel informed and empowered to make educated choices for their family.

I am a subject matter specialist in childbirth. I am not a subject specialist in cancer but I will be, someday. As I am diving into the world of cancer, cancer treatment, biology of cancer, cancer research, and the history of cancer treatment to hopefully craft and live a very long beautiful thriving life, there is so much I don’t know. My mind is bending and shifting with every new bit of information, creating file cabinets to be added to in the years to come. This is my life now, I welcome it, and with that I know the “know better, do better” grief will come wash over me at times. It’s a sign that I am learning and growing.

I think of those I have known and know who have walked this path in their own way. With their own stories. All the people with all the feels all with this at the center. This complicated messy club we never asked to join. They are with me on this journey, their experiences matter.

At almost 48 years old, I am not as feisty as my younger self (although I am still pretty sassy). I have evolved to identify and contextualize my feelings quicker and more accurately than my twenties and probably even my thirties. I am aware that everywhere in life there is a lot of grey and absolutes are hard to find. Hence my favorite word is acatalepsy. Defined as an ancient Skeptic doctrine that human knowledge amounts only to probability and never to certainty or the real or apparent impossibility of arriving at a certain knowledge or full comprehension. A fancy way of saying “You never really know.” With all that, I hope to be able to turn this into something helpful like I did with my childbirth deep dive all those many years ago.

I am learning to balance the optimistic, positive, I got this, it’s all good attitude with the real feels. The real feels have to be invited to the party, even if they aren’t the most fun, I always feel better after they make their appearance. I am learning and I am growing.

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