”...the thing is, once something goes wrong, forever after you know that something CAN go wrong. Up until then, we're all blessed with kind of an ignorant sense of invincibility...
“None of us know what's going to hit us out of the blue, or when, but once we get winged by something, I think, we are all a little bit more fearful...
“The passage of time helps, and with enough time, we regain some of that feeling of invincibility.
Think of today's post as an extension, a follow-up to Wednesday's which was little more than a jump-start for the many thoughtful, useful and inspiring reader comments about what comes after recovery from a serious disease.
The quotation above is one of them, left by TGB reader Patty-in-New-York who nailed my pre-cancer sense of invincibility. Until that diagnosis last June, I thought I understood what it is like to face a life-threatening illness.
Wrong. I didn't have a clue.
The long weeks of recovery from surgery taught me about disability. About giving over my independence to the kind people who helped me during that time with the everyday, ordinary necessities of living. About constraints on the physical things I could do. And about how those new limitations gave me a smaller world view than I had before or want to have.
Isn't it interesting how, when the doctor hands you a terrible diagnosis or an outside force, an accident for example, leaves you with a broken hip or worse, you are plunged into the world of the sick in no more than a minute, but it can take weeks and months after you have healed to recover your place in the world of the healthy.
Or, as Patty-in-New-York suggests, you arrive at a different kind of normal. I doubt I will ever feel invincible again but since I wrote Wednesday's post (on Tuesday), I received an unexpected boost toward whatever my new normal will be.
On Wednesday morning, I met with the surgeon who performed the Whipple Procedure on me in June. As regular readers know, on Monday this week, a CT scan had matched earlier blood tests in showing my body to be clean of cancer.
A good-sized part of me had never expected that and as I mentioned on Wednesday, I wanted to celebrate but somehow wasn't feeling it. That changed when the surgeon told me in person, face-to-face, that there is no cancer, “Go live your life,” he said.
Although I didn't know it until that moment, it was important to me to hear that sentence out loud, not in a written scan analysis. To be reminded again that the remarkable doctor who, with his great knowledge of pancreatic cancer and his excellent surgical team, spent 12 hours on his feet last June, 12 hours that saved my life.
After meeting with him, I wept and I rejoiced and I had lunch with a friend and then I went home and celebrated by dancing to Joe Cocker singing live in a 1992 concert, Cry Me a River.
It will take a little more time but now I know I'm going to be just fine.