The road is never straight.
I have now been home from the hospital for over a week, and I am definitely stronger. I can take a shower all by myself! I can dress myself and carry my cereal bowl from the table to the dishwasher. I can write this blog post. The Visiting Nurses have come (angels on earth that they are) and have announced that my wound is healing perfectly (even though it’s the longest scar they’ve seen in quite a while), and my vital signs are good. When it comes to the important things, I’m a star.
But in cancer as in life, it’s the little things that can trip you up the most. We have been calling them speed bumps .These are the secondary, non-vital situations which force themselves into primary position, not because they are life threatening, but because they are excessively uncomfortable or even temporarily debilitating. For me, it was my poor, swollen bladder which is struggling to learn how to function on its own again. This has involved two weeks of trial and error and has been the issue which has caused me to feel more like a sick person than anything else. The other issue has been the incredible itching and stinging throughout my belly as my nerves start to stitch themselves back together.
I’m not describing all this to get sympathy (although your kind words have meant a great deal to me), but rather to think about what these speed bumps really are, and how to deal with them. I realize now that the real problem here isn’t the urinary track infection or the annoying abdominal sensations. It’s the impatience. Even though I know that no roads are straight, I want one anyway. I want continued progress in a straight line. Progress never works that way, though. By giving in to the frustration of the impatience, I actually overlook the fact that having the energy to feel impatient in the first place is, itself, an indication of progress. Just like boredom, impatience shows that I am getting ready to do more. Two weeks ago all I wanted to do was lie on the hospital bed and stare at a blank tv screen. Now that I remind myself of my original hoped-for time frame of being happy and capable enough to go out for our anniversary dinner in August, I can see how far I have come in just 2 weeks, never mind 3 months.
So, to add to the clichés, I have to say that resistance is futile. And impatience is the fuel of resistance. I need to remember to avoid both impatience and resistance as much as I can. I can’t resist the speed bumps. I can only go over them as gracefully as possible. Handling them slowly and calmly makes their effects less of a crash. Speeding over speed bumps only makes you lose your transmission.