I’m writing it down because I plan to forget it. When chemo is over in one month I plan to forget it, leave it behind, let new memories replace these. I want it to be who I was, not who I am or who I will be. Cancer won’t define me and chemo will be a moment in time. Four months of my life, I hope. If I am lucky. Nothing, yet everything. Nothing in terms of time in my life. Everything in that it has fundamentally changed me.
The side effects will pass, my hair and strength will return, but I hope the perspective will remain. I think it will. Despite the many long days of fog when my brain has refused to be it’s sharp self there are moments of intense clarity. So much of what I hear and see does not matter to me now. So much of life is not important and a few things are all-important. There is clutter everywhere and solid gold nuggets scattered in between. The basis of the Finding Beauty in Cancer project was that I get a blank canvas on which to recreate. I thought that meant my body and how I look. However, I’ve found it’s much more than the blank canvas of body. It’s a blank slate of meaning. I get to choose what has meaning in my life. From the smallest detail to the largest concept. I chose what is important, what is stressful, what gets my time attention. Everything gets striped down to a few essentials – people and relationships. Family, friends, community, world. People, minds, souls. Words. Transgressions and quarrels are forgiven. They don’t matter. Love and being present for one another matters. Saving face, being right… doesn’t matter. Choosing to see and be beauty, even in a painful world, matters.