A Page From The Double-Overtime Playbook
Any Way You Slice It
“Do you feel like you’re living on borrowed time?”
We have accidentally fallen into the tradition of catching up over early morning coffee around the holidays and on this day we are each picking at breakfast while slowly waking up when he asks the question. I don’t remember exactly what I said in response, but it drew us into a discussion of how I am not only in the position of living on borrowed time – a situation a small portion of the human population will experience – but that I am in the position of living in something akin to double-overtime. I’m not sure how many of us live in this sliver of life, but it certainly can’t be many.
The Next Chapter
“So, you feel better then?”
I want to slap her.
I’m at my gynecologist’s office – the regular, ordinary gynecologist for once – and in the pre-appointment “so how’ve you been” phase of the appointment, a member of her staff gets confirmation from me that I have not had anything new come up since my ovarian cancer diagnosis. And that is her response.
What Would Jesus Do?
“I don’t want to turn into the cancer girl again,” I sigh as I flop onto his couch. “But I feel it happening.”
I was the cancer girl once. Known around RVA largely due to my willingness to chat with folks about what it means to be 23 and be kicked in the gut by a surprise diagnosis. It didn’t happen to me, I took the role on willingly, but over time it consumed me. If you ask me now, applying that particular label to my forehead is in no small part responsible for the follow-up diagnosis I would receive 14 years later.
Its Been One Year
“What do you need to feel ready?” she asked me.
It was almost exactly a year before the cancer diagnosis I didn’t yet know was looming so close. In the Skype window reflecting my image I could see row after row of purple bordered diplomas and certifications behind me. A law degree and a master’s degree. Admissions to the bars of four states. Papers conferring on me the readiness required to carry out certain tasks.
The State Of Affairs v.12
“Ugh,” I grumble as I lean closer to the mirror. “I have got to do something about these eyebrows.”
I inherited all the Lebanese traits from my father’s side of the family. The good ones – like a thick, dark head of hair – and the not so good ones – like thick, dark eyebrows.
It’s as if an invisible hand slaps me straight across the cheekbones. I have eyebrows. Eyebrows so thick, dark, and unruly that they need to be maintained yet again.
Healing Trip #6 - Ojai, California
One year ago, I was hovering in the space just before my very last chemotherapy treatment. I had no idea what laid beyond that sixth round – and if you had told me there is a pretty solid chance I: (a) wouldn’t have believed you and (b) would have been completely incapable of handling the news. I was already playing around with the idea that I might not do the recommended maintenance chemotherapy – and had made up my mind that I certainly wouldn’t do the entire prescribed year. But I don’t think I was in a place yet where I could have gotten my mind around the idea of saying no to additional treatment in the face of an “incurable” diagnosis.
“When did you fall?”
My head swivels from his gorgeous wife to meet his eyes. “Excuse me?”
“The fall. How old were you?”
Check, One, Two . . .
“Why am I doing this?”
I am wandering through the Richmond airport at an hour that is often past my bedtime these days. I am wearing pajamas and feel much like I am dragging a 50-pound weight behind me.
On The Celebration Of The Resurrection
Is this thing on?
* * *
I needed some time. Some space. I had to learn the hard way that when you take to painting your emotions all over the internet – when you crack your heart wide open and provide whoever wishes one an inside view at the goriest year of your life – you can create a false sense of intimacy and a level of expectation that you weren’t really planning on.
“What is the standard of review applicable to a motion for summary judgment?”
I am afraid to try to answer because I am certain that I will throw up if I open my mouth. I didn’t review this. What were the odds they would ask this – rather than something related to the applicable facts or the pertinent cases?