And The Delayed Reaction Goes On As The New Reality Continues To Sink In

Let me explain

Our friend Amanda, who lives in our upstairs bedroom part-time, used to have abysmal eyesight. I think the term for it was pathological myopia. She wasn’t legally blind but it was a near thing. I tried on her eyeglasses once and I thought my eyes were going to impode. She wore contacts most of the time and she had been coping with her poor eyesight for most of her life. Then one day, an eye specialist said, I can fix that for you, and he did. The effects were dramatic.

It took Amanda months to adjust to life with normal eyesight. Previously, she removed her contact lenses at bed-time as a way of “shutting off” the world so she could go to sleep. After the surgery, however, there was no shutting off the world––she had to learn how to wind down even though she could still see everything. The rest of the day was a big adjustment for her, too. The visual centre of her brain had never had so much stimulation––she could get positively hyper from all the visual information coming in. Sometimes listening to her marvel at what she could see and how it made her feel could get me choked up. She’d been able to see just fine with her contact lenses but somehow, it wasn’t the same thing as being able to see without them. I don’t think she takes it for granted to this day.

I think you see where I’m going with this.

Every day when I wake up, the first thing in my head is, I’m going to live. (This is usually because I’m still damp from hormone-induced night-sweats.) Eleven months ago, I was working out how I was going to tell my son that I’d be lucky to see New Year 2017. This year I got to tell him that he shouldn’t be surprised if I were still around for New Year 2030.

My first post about cancer here included  a fable about a prisoner who persuades the king who condemned him to death that he can teach his horse to sing   (you’ll have to scroll down a bit to find it).

Well, I got my year––let’s just round up from eleven months, for the sake of neatness––and it turns out that the horse has a musical streak. The noises coming out of him actually sound kinda melodic. The king thinks so, anyway, and he has apparently decided that’s reason enough to continue with the singing lessons past the original deadline. Besides, the horse is enjoying himself, so cutting off the lessons would punish the horse who is the innocent party in all this.

I was giggling madly while I wrote that; I still am.

There will probably be a few more of these OMG you guys I can’t believe I’m not going to die next year! dispatches from Cancerland––maybe more than a few, interspersed or interwoven with OMG you guys exercise is so great! and OMG you guys here are some more reasons to be cheerful!  Not to mention my favourite story to tell on Christmas Eve. You can read them or not; I won’t judge you.

But absent medical advances with viral cell therapy or a spontaneous, inexpicable event of the sort people often describe as a miracle, these dispatches will come from Cancerland. And that’s not a downer. Because although I’m permanently resident in Cancerland, cancer itself is––say it with me, loud and proud even if it’s not aloud––my bitch!


8 thoughts on “And The Delayed Reaction Goes On As The New Reality Continues To Sink In

  1. You’ve made *me* smile and I wonder if that’s you I cna hear laughing with the delight of being alive. Long long may it continue!! xx (if you’ll excuse me being so forward!)

  2. I just scared the cats with my loud sob when I got to the “money” sentence – 2030!!! I am so so happy for you. Bless you and all your loved ones this US Thanksgiving Day. Know that tears of joy are being shed for you in Omaha today!

  3. Oh yes. I remember all too viscerally trying to get my head around the idea I might not live to see my sixtieth birthday. So it was the sweetest birthday probably EVAH. I’ve learned – and it sounds trite – how to do that odd mental balancing act of accepting the very real possibility I won’t see 70, while planning on it anyway. So you and me, kiddo. I believe we’ll both be dancing in our zimmer frames at 90, even if it never happens, I can BELIEVE again. Nice to know you do as well.

    • I’ll drink to that. My sixtieth is somewhere behind me––I’m in my early sixty-mumbles. But yeah, you understand. I hadn’t realised how I’d pretty much abdicated the future until I realised I was going to be around for it.

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