Have you ever looked back at a period of time in your life-it could be a specific event, day, week, month, or even year- and thought, holy crap how did that happen? I'm talking about a castastrophe that changes your entire life path and looking back resembles the aftermath of a war-time air raid.
Let's fade in on an opening scene:
I had a job, a husband, a few horses, and a nice place to live. My husband was going to nursing school. The future was bright...blah, blah, blah.
March 10, 2003. First strike. I blamed it on the food court General Tso's. The ER thought it was my appendix. It turned out to be my right ovary, which needed emergency surgery.
Did I mention that the week before I had had a small growth removed from my elbow? Trust me, it's pertinent. I was supposed to be at my regular doctor's office around the time they were deciding to cut me open.
It went well, came home, and felt like crap for the rest of the week. Not a huge tragedy. Went to my rescheduled appointment for the biopsy results for the elbow lump.
Malignant melanoma. BOOM.
March 28, 2003. Second surgery two weeks later to remove margins and some lymph nodes. Came home, felt even crappier (is it a bad sign when the recovery room nurses have to remind you repeatedly to breathe?), and waited for the lymph node biopsy results.
March 31st. Arm bandaged to the hilt and my horse started colicking. I had raised him from a yearling and, admittedly fostered an unhealthy attachment(Ok, my son grew up thinking he had an equine sibling). Still after 17 years, I wasn't prepared to be leading a thrashing 1200 pound animal around in the rain while trying to keep my bandages dry. And, for those who don't know or love everything horsey, colic is like a stomach ache on steroids. It can kill a horse. And in this case it did. On the anniversary of my father's birthday. (He succumbed to colon cancer in 1993)
But my biopsy was clear.
Following the recommendations of my oncologist, I began a treatment to better my chances of being cancer-free. It was horrible. I've been told it's not as bad as traditional chemotherapies, but it was bad. Imagine having the worst achy flu you can imagine for a year. Everything hurt. And one of the lovely side effects was depression. Another-suicidal tendencies. So it was really great when, two months into the treatment my husband finished nursing school and announced he was leaving. For the woman he's been sleeping with since the October before.
I made it through with a lot of help from my friends and family. And I wrote a lot of dark poetry. Maybe Trent Reznor needs a lyricist?
2004-early 2006. Pretty unenvetful. I went back to school and started going out. Ok- I went to clubs and learned to dance on a stripper pole. SO. MUCH. FUN. I felt great and, after a year of a metallic taste inhibiting my appetite, I was SKINNY! Bonus.
I built a deck, I painted my house, and got into a Seven Sisters school. When I looked back and there were still big holes in the ground, but they were being rebuilt or grown over by something beautiful. I was not the same person.
It was just a lull.
Summer and Fall of 2006. My best friend, who had suffered her own horrible battle with a relentless cancer, was fading. This incredible individual, the one who taught me not to fear remodeling, or home repair, slowly became a quadrapalegic.
I had started my second semester when she died as she had lived-on her own terms.
But my mother had taught me to carry on. Or berated and forced me, whichever way you want to look at it.
And where was my mother through all of this? Well, she and my aunt had always been invovled in my life. Sometimes more than I wished.
My aunt was two minutes from my house and my mom was always a phone call away. That was about to change.
In January, my mom moved in with my aunt. I will admit to a fair bit of panic- I thought she was going to move in with me. And since she owned the house I was occupying, the panic was justified. Mercy won out. Plus, she really wanted me to graduate.
Then Hiroshima and Nagasaki all at once.
When you see the depiction of the officer coming to the door to say, "Ma'am, there's been an accident," they really do.
My mother and my aunt were killed by a drunk driver who was traveling at 130MPH and rear-ended their car.
That's a big hole.
Now, I am trying to crawl from underneath that big, black mushroom cloud and rebuild.
I graduated from college with honors.
I am cancer free.
And I recently embarked on a new adventure.
So let's leave the Eat Pray Love segment behind and move out into the sunshine.