Friday, February 24, 2006


A funny thing happened Thursday afternoon as I walked through my local Wal-Mart, pushing a shopping cart filled with groceries and more than few impulse-buy items: I started to feel like a human being again.

The dull pain I've had since my operation disappeared -- likely because I wasn't at home, at the computer, thinking in the back of my mind how it still hurt and wondering if/when it was going to go away. In fact... walking wasn't a trial at all. I'd struggled to get out of bed that morning; now, I felt fine. Just a little tender, is all.

As I was driving home, I deliberately took the long way around the block (I live one mile from the nearest Wal-Mart -- as do 98% of all Americans, it seems.) Why? Because I was singing along to a song on the radio, and I didn't want to stop. It was the first time in nearly a month I'd wanted to sing about something.

When I got home, I brought my bike -- the one I bought right before December 6, that has been sitting outside getting rained on every since -- inside, and I started to clean it up. It's now ready for me to start riding it -- and I have.

Today, February 24, marks one month since I was diagnosed with TC. I "celebrated" tonight by meeting some of my old friends from American Gypsum for drinks at our traditional hangout, The Old Crow. After several hugs and Q&A  sessions, things settled down to the familiar banter over the LOUD jukebox I've grown so used to these past 18 months. After drinks, we went to dinner at a local Italian joint. Normal.

I drove home tonight singing to the radio. That was the longest I'd been on my feet, out in public, since my operation. I still feel great. I also feel like, finally, I'm taking my life back... which is odd, as one month ago you couldn't have told me I'd be back to my "normal" routine so quickly.

Things aren't normal. They may never be completely so again. From now on, every two months I'll go through a few days of nervous agony, waiting for test results to come back to see if cancer has sprung up again somewhere anew. That's part of the agony of cancer; most patients feel completely normal as it grows inside of them. TC, at least, gave an indicator that was hard to miss. Many forms of cancer don't, until they have spread.

But that's in the future. Tonight I know I'm okay, as I will be tomorrow and the next day. I'm fine until someone tells me otherwise, which I'm betting will never happen.

Cancer, I don't have time for you right now, and I refuse to grant you the satisfaction of sidelining me again. I gave you one month. That's all you get. My life started again on a Thursday afternoon in a Wal-Mart.

I'm normal again

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