One Year Ago, November 1 and Also, How Baked Goods Can Ruin Your Night

A year ago, well, right around now - I was sitting in the waiting room at the gynecologist's office, waiting to get squeezed in for my yearly exam (squeezed in, because the girl on the phone who made my appointment said "The First" rather than "The First TUESDAY" - which was actually the second, and when my appointment was supposed to be.  All of this I am certain, now, was meant to be.  This simple mistake brought me to Dr. Kebria and Nurses Erin and Alex.  If I had showed up for my exam on the 2nd - I would have seen a different oncologist for my initial biopsy.  It was truly all meant to be.

As I walked out of work a year ago today, one of my coworkers asked where I was going and I specifically remember replying, "To another doctor who is going to tell me they don't know what's wrong with me."  Oh, how wrong I was.  And how grateful I am to Dr. Gitiforooz for telling me something was VERY wrong with me.

A year ago today.

That's when the reality that cancer MIGHT be a part of my life arrived like a slap to my face.  Calling Ryan to ask him to meet me at Moll Pavillion was one of the most horrible things I have ever had to do.  I was terrified and I knew he would be, too.  Trying to remember the rest of that day is like trying to remember the details of a movie you've only seen once.  It was scary.  That's what I remember.  And confusing.  And I spent a lot of time trying to convince myself that it wasn't any big deal.

As I sit here today (typing this on my lunch break at work because we still have no power at home from the stupid hurricane) I still have barely accepted that cancer is a forever part of the rest of my life, regardless of how ling the words "remission" or "cancer-free" apply to me.  I had a miserable realization the other night that I will truly NEVER feel normal ever again.  And it happened because of the stupidest thing: cookies.

Yeah.  I wanted to bake cookies the first night of the storm.  It felt like a cozy thing to do.  And as I was digging out the Kitchen-Aid and the flour and sugar, Ryan gives me a (completely obnoxious, in my head) disapproving look and says, "You're not supposed to eat sugar."  I lost it.  For him, this judgment is about him caring for me and wanting me to do EVERYTHING possible to stay as healthy as possible.  For me ALL it is is a GLARING reminder that I'm not normal.  (It's also the sort of thing that makes me want to eat cookies every time I get away from him because it's like TRYING to feel normal without getting the hairy eyeball from my husband.)  I was so sad.  I had just wanted to do something fun.  Something that I used to really enjoy before I got sick.  Bake.  I love baking.  And true, part of why I love it is that I love cookies... but baking is the only type of science that I really enjoy and find interesting.  It's different than cooking - which I am getting better at, but find less satisfying than baking.

So, anyhow, point is that Ryan really doesn't understand why I wanted to bake.  It had less to do with wanting to eat an entire batch of cookies and lick every last morsel of dough off the spoon and more to do with just wanting to feel like ME.  Or just, to NOT feel defective.  I am still trying to figure out how to enjoy and celebrate remission and being cancer-free without truly being able to "go back" to being the me I was before.  Not the grumpy, negative, bitchy, fat me - but the me who just did what I wanted because I could.  I lost that particular me altogether and I miss the shit out of her every day.

Cancer is forever.  It changes you forever.  Even if forever is, as it is for me right now, just a year.  And no matter how positive a place I have tried to take that change - it still has it's cloudy moments that cover up the silver linings...

Xxo, Phoebe

PS - The One Year Cancerversary Party I have been planning for tomorrow may be cancelled or moved.  With no power and our 50 year old generator slowly dying, it just seems impossible to have oodles of people over to the house.  I will update the blog Friday morning to let any who were planning to attend of any changes.  Sorry.

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