Now what?

Life is so weird. Last week, after giving me a get-out-of-chemo-free card, my oncologist wrote me a prescription for Tamoxifen and told me to come back in six months. That was it. End of story. As in, don’t let the door hit you on your way out. Mary and I were giddy as we left his office. We drove home chatty with our good fortune, called our families to share the good news, and took ourselves to a celebratory dinner. Then came Thursday morning. With no doctor’s appointments, no medical errands, no looming surgery to fret about, I vacillated between a profound sense of relief and a disturbing sense of “now what?”  

Mary and I both felt the shift and quickly landed on metaphors as different as our personalities. I pictured Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. I felt as though I’d spent the last 10 weeks tossed about in the eye of a tornado. My life turned upside down, shaken, rearranged. Then, a week ago Wednesday, the wind stopped howling, my world stopped spinning, and I dropped back to earth. Now, I’m struggling to get up and dust myself off, but I can’t get my bearings. I’m home, but I’m lost.

Mary, the media scholar, said it was as though her brain was no longer stuck on the “cancer channel.” As if someone had finally handed her the long-lost remote, giving her the freedom to choose her programming again. This past week, as I watched her get sucked back into her hectic work life, a part of me is jealous (something I thought I’d never say) because it feels like she can switch back to her “regularly scheduled programming.” I, on the other hand, have no idea what that looks like anymore.

5 Responses

  1. Jane says:

    I’m sure you will find your scarecrow, tin man and lion

  2. Clare E. says:

    Congratulations! And how could you possibly know given what you’ve just come through? You’ll find your way…soon. xo

  3. macariotimbal says:

    What great news! They call what you’re searching for right now “The New Normal.” I’m sure you’ve heard that. Best of luck as you work out what that is. You will.


  4. Andrew says:

    Congrats Catherine. I say plant a plant. I’m not sure why, but it seems like the right thing to do. Thinking of you. Andrew

  5. Jen Maher says:

    dear dear: i am so glad to hear this. so sorry i have been not in touch the way i would like; it’s all sleep deprivation basically. but I am so glad for you. let me know when you want visitors, of the drooling and non-drooling variety.