Memorial Day is my favorite of the summer holidays.
I like the sentiment behind it–honoring those who died serving our country in the military–and I like its place as the unofficial first weekend of summer. On Memorial Day, the long, lazy days of summer stretch before us with the delicious promise of three solid months of warm weather, vacations and fun outdoors.
Last year, I felt robbed of my summer. Or, at least of half of it. I was diagnosed in early July, smack-dab in the middle of summer. I went from pool parties and beach trips and baseball games to chemo and hair loss and fear–so much fear.
While the rest of the world was still enjoying the sun, I was cowering indoors, terrified of my own body. My beachy glow was replaced with the ghostly pallor of a person who spends her days inside the cancer center, poison flowing through her veins. While my son was still wide open, eager to soak up every minute of daylight for playtime, I struggled through the evenings, exhausted from the Neulasta shots yet uncomfortably wired from the steroids that helped keep me from puking my guts out.
I’m excited for this summer. I have a lot of fun things planned–a beach trip with my family, a trip to New York City with my sister, work trips to Chicago and Vegas, a Guns ‘n’ Roses concert (woot!). There will be pool days, and barbecues and hours spent helping my son build castles in his sandbox.
But as excited as I am for this season, I’m also anxious. I’m afraid something else will happen. Something new will pop up. More bad news. I have a follow-up brain MRI scheduled next month, and just thinking about it makes me nauseous.
This is my life, post-treatment. No matter what good thing I have going on, there’s that little voice whispering from the depths, reminding me what could go wrong. I’m getting better at tamping it down, but it’s definitely an ongoing process.