Sunday, 29 April 2012
"AFTER THE ECSTASY..."
I’ve always loved the Zen proverb, “After the ecstasy, the laundry.”
I have begun to think ahead. And even a limited amount of planning means that after months of floating blissfully in the “now,” I seem to be transitioning to the stage of “laundry” - metaphorically, you understand. My actual laundry basket is overflowing.
Point is, I think about the fact that I need to get off my butt and down to the laundry room. A few days ago, I felt compelled to spend hours finishing a massive beaded pendent. The techs in radiation gave me my mask as a souvenir & I’m planning to make art with it. Looking forward to hot weather, I even bought summer clothes. For a long time, there was no impulse to work, to think as far ahead as July or August. To plan.
That sense of all being right with the world is still with me subliminally. But since treatment ended, I’m more engaged, pulled into the spin and flow of daily life. Other than coping with side-effects of treatment, I feel almost normal. I’m not being reminded of cancer by daily hospital trips. I am in the death zone but my mind has a hard time holding onto the idea. It’s a natural enough progression. Nothing stays the same.
Now it’s a matter of balancing between the need to be productive and holding awareness that trying to anticipate my longevity would be a crap shoot. In September, post-surgery, when I first spoke with my surgeon, I asked point-blank for my prognosis. I swear he winced. “I’m sorry," he said, "I have to answer this directly because you asked me directly - about eight months.” I laughed. I had no intention of dying in eight months. But six months later, the tumors were back. Auntie C is a particularly vicious bitch, it turns out. Now, I’m coming up on eight months and I’m still here. I’m beginning to feel that remission could last awhile. “Could” being the operative word. I'm pretty sure I'll get to wear the summer clothes.
Once in a while, I wonder if the rumors of my immanent demise have been exaggerated and whether I should feel a little guilty for getting people all upset and then having the temerity to linger on. It’s darkly funny and the thought always cracks me up. I don’t know what’s next – or when. But it would be kind of cool to be the exception to the eight month rule. Long as I don’t completely forget that life is perfect just as it is and little stuff is little stuff.
I know it’s been a while.
You’ll excuse the brevity, I hope, but I need to get going. I’m out of clean socks and underwear.