It's almost been a month since I have written. I wanted to write, I thought a lot about writing but once I began radiation I became stuck.
For those of you who don't know radiation happens every day. You drive in, get your treatment and go home. As the weeks pass your skin starts to burn and you become insanely exhausted. And this is what happened to me. Getting these treatments became my full time job.
So as much as I thought about doing things and went to do things, those things didn't happen. Art didn't happen. Writing didn't happen and even bookselling did not happen. But what did happen was self care, reading (in the first two weeks) and reaching out to people.
For a while I was feeling guilty about this, but then I was like, uhm, nope. I won't let the ridiculous world of strange guilt mess me up. I felt bad that I wasn't getting chemo. But I came to the conclusion that this is bad too. I also realized that comparison between these sorts of things doesn't work. It was time I let go of all of those thoughts and just take care of myself.
The past week has been hard, as I am dealing with some very burnt skin and pain but things have begun to come into focus for me. A lot of people talk about cancer being a battle, and generally I steer clear of the language of fighting because there is always a winner and a loser, and it's just not a way I like to look at this disease that affects so many.
I would rather liken it to being a pirate on a ship in a big storm. Some of the pirates are terrified and get paralyzed, Some just go right to work and do what needs to be done, and then I imagine that there are the pirates (I imagine them the old wisened pirates) who just go with the flow and realize that the storm will take us where it takes us.
There is a tradition in cancer centres all over that after you finish a treatment you ring "the bell". On Tuesday October 25th, I will be finished the radiation treatment. I will ring the bell at the Juravinski Centre. Some people don't like the bell, because they say that cancer treatment is never really done, and it tempts the fates. Personally I a big believer of marking change. Ringing that bell will let the world know that I am done the treatment. That the storm is over for now, and that I will take some time to get everything in order and then, slowly and surely I will begin to create, begin to go out, and begin to move forward. I can't wait to begin the process of becoming unstuck.