The Space Between Breaths

photo from levitatingmonkey.com

The time between scan day and results day is interminable. The space-time continuum erupts because new physics are at work.

T = (Time in remission) X (number of aches in belly)  divided by  (number of positive thoughts) + (number of reassuring hugs from D).*

*If there is a weekend between scan and results, then T is multiplied by a factor of oh-my-gosh-this-would-be-so-much-easier-if-could-just-drink-a-bunch-of-cocktails-while-I-wait.

Through the weekends’ numerous parties and the hilarious behavior that ensued, (kids and adults on even footing here) I stayed pretty distracted. But every now and then, I thought of the manila folder. It sits on Doc. G’s desk all weekend, holding the report of my scan and blood work, waiting to be read to me.  D does a great impersonation of Doc G giving good news, so I ask him to do it over and over again.

Tough as it is, the stretch between scan day (Thursday) and results day (tomorrow) is also a great opportunity to try out new and more vigorous forms of positive thinking. When I get nervous I keep turning my mind to the amazing piece of god-work that is my physical body. I create a mental film reel of my strongest moments, and I watch every frame carefully. Seven Nation Army is my mental sound track.  As I watch, I linger on certain images. I see myself in Shivasana after a long and satisfying yoga class. I can feel my heart pumping oxygenated blood to my lean, flexible limbs. A calm hum infuses me because health and vitality are mine. I see myself swimming lap after lap with little J, a nine pound baby boy floating in my belly the day before his birth. He rocks back and forth as I reach and pull through the water, my endless energy and strength propelling me forward. I see myself hiking with D a decade ago. We go hours and hours, into the jungley thicket of a Hawaiian island, to a rock wall, which we then scale, to get to a waterfall. We swim in the icy water, then climb a steep muddy ravine to get out. We are laughing and swatting away mosquitoes. We’re covered in mud. I try to feel every detail of those moments in my body, to remind the cancer, should there be any lurking cells, who it’s dealing with.

I also look around at my life and the choices I’m making. I make sure that what I’m doing, saying, thinking, creating, and putting out in the world is the best it can be. After all, if I’m fighting to be alive, then the way I spend my time needs to be worthy of this fight.

These days are difficult for sure, but like anything else that’s difficult, there’s a reward in it. And I’m focusing as hard as I can on it. The good, the positive, in this drastically long space between breaths.

  1. Monica

    We are all breathing with you.

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