I’m pretty weepy today. It’s not just one thing, really. It’s sorta everything. For one thing, my doctor found a new, suspicious lump in my right breast. You know what’s weird? It’s not so much the prospect of cancer that scares me, it’s the needing to be peaceful and normal for the kids while I wait for my appointment. It’s the wondering: what if?
I have a significant family history of breast cancer. It’s the kind of family history that freaks out every single OB/GYN I’ve ever had and makes them scribble off frantic orders for ultrasounds, mammograms, genetic counseling. At this point, breast cancer just feels like a matter of time. Each year I dodge the cancer bullet I can’t help thinking it’s just a temporary reprieve.
So, today is my appointment and I’m just sorta over this whole thing. Can’t we just skip to the part where I start chemo and lose my hair already? Because I’d really like to check Breast Cancer off my bucket list and move on with things.
Then again, no I don’t. I would far rather this was not happening at all.
I told my mom–a breast cancer survivor, herself–about my appointment today. I said: “You know, cancer wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.”
She chuckled, agreeing. “You know, cancer wasn’t as hard for me as going through the breakup of our old church.”
“Well, sure. What’s the worst that can happen with cancer? I’d die and go to Heaven and all my earthly sorrows would be over!”
I’d never thought of it like that.
But maybe she’s right. Maybe surviving fundamentalism is a lot harder than surviving cancer? I guess that makes sense. I mean, what’s the worst that can happen to me if I have breast cancer? The surgeon lobs off my boobs and gives me a brand new set? Not such a bad deal, really. Can’t be worse than totally overhauling my life and rewiring my brain after surviving a cult. Right?
Speaking of rewiring my brain, I started ADD meds last week. I was supposed to start them like three weeks ago, but I spent almost two weeks avoiding it. I filled the prescription and everything, but I just let the bottle sit on my counter for awhile. Waited for the stars to align. One Saturday morning I went in the backyard, looked up at the sky and said: “God, give me the strength to take this pill.” Then I swallowed it. Then I lay down on the floor and waited to die.
I’m not kidding. That is literally what happened. Life just isn’t worth living if it’s not melodramatic, am I right?
Oddly enough, I didn’t die. Instead, I started feeling better. Like, really better. So better, in fact, that I got up and cleaned my bedroom. Then I cleaned the living room–without ONCE getting distracted or procrastinating.
That’s when I thought a bad word: Shit is real.
It’s been about a week now. I can’t really believe ADD meds work this well. Is it really OK to feel this good? Is this what normal feels like? I am not accustomed to my brain feeling normal. I am accustomed to my brain feeling stressed out from the struggle of keeping up with every day life. I am accustomed to my brain galloping in twenty different directions and exhausting me with all its distractions.
After watching me go through this whole ADD-diagnosis, my mom and I had a major breakthrough. She called me and said: “Honey, all these years I’ve been missing this piece of the puzzle. I finally feel like I truly understand you. I just wanted to thank you for sharing with me.”
Aaaaand wow. My mother finally understands me? Excuse me while I break down sobbing. All I can say is: I’m so profoundly grateful for a second chance with my mom. I’m glad the cult didn’t win on that.
Which brings me back to cancer. If I can survive a cult, figure out my personality, get help for my ADD brain and experience new breakthroughs in my relationships, then maybe I’m strong enough to hear whatever diagnosis I hear today.
One thing’s for sure: I’m going to cry about it. Because even on meds, I’m still me. And me cries. That’s just what me do.