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Stephanie Gilman

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Cancer Won't Ruin My Summer

Posted: 05/06/2013 12:10 pm

This past winter was a particularly miserable one for the city of Toronto, where I live. Cold, windy, grey, and what appeared to be never-ending. I often felt as though the weather outside was mimicking my own misery and sickness. That spring would come as I started to emerge from the darkness. I realize it sounds very narcissistic, to believe that I somehow can control the weather. But sure enough, this past week as I started to heal from my latest surgery and as my mood began to lift, the sun came out, the tree buds bloomed, and everyone seemed to let out a collective sigh of relief. We made it through the worst.

I made it through the worst.

I've been having quite a lot of, dare I say, fun the past few days. Friday I had my treatment, which ran just about as smoothly as that kind of thing can. Service in the chemo ward was top-notch, and I received multiple offers of pillows and apple juice. It was also fairly quiet, and no one around me appeared to be dying, which is always a nice bonus.

Afterward, my mom and I met my sister and we got some frozen yogurt and went to the park and popped into a few boutiques. Then in the evening, my husband and I went for a delicious dinner, where we sat on a patio, and relished the moment. By the end of the day, I don't think I even remembered that I had just had drugs injected into a vein near my neck a few hours earlier. Score.

Saturday, I continued on my quest to be a normal young person in the city. After having a nice visit with some of my family, I took a lovely walk through my neighbourhood and around the park and surrounding area. My feet ached from wearing terrible sandals. A regular person kind of ache. Not a cancer ache. There is a very big difference, and I was glad for it. Then at night, I went to see the newest over-the-top superhero flick, Iron Man 3.

I don't know how to properly convey how excited I was to do something as simple as see a big blockbuster movie on its opening weekend. It has been a long time since I was able to do something like that. To be able to say I feel like doing this thing that many other young, healthy people will be doing at the same time and then actually do it. It was amazing.

Climbing the stairs up the large theatre was a bit of a challenge, but that was the only time I felt limited. I wore my wig, and from what I can tell, blended right in with the masses. Just another 20-something out on date night, watching a movie, wearing ridiculous 3D glasses. I enjoyed every second of it. I thought about how far special effects have come, and how watching a movie is one of my greatest simple pleasures. And I did not think about cancer. Explosions, and fast cars and Gwyneth Paltrow's abs. But not cancer.

Things are still difficult for me. My muscle and joint pain makes me feel as though I am a brittle old lady. When I sit down on the ground, it takes some serious problem solving to get myself back up. I am waking up each day, waiting for it to subside, but so far the pain is sticking around. I am also still wrestling with the emotional trauma from everything I have experienced.

Sometimes it is these very moments, when I'm feeling happy and alive, that the fear creeps in. What if this doesn't last too long? What if this is just a tease? What if I have a limited amount of happy, good days left, and then it all goes to shit? It is so hard to push these thoughts aside and it's something I will have to work on. I don't expect to have it all figured out anytime soon. But I'm trying.

I have my next phase of treatment approaching. It's not over just yet. But at this moment, I don't want to think about it for any longer than it takes me to type this sentence. I want to be young, and I want to play in the sun. So I'm going to go do that.

See ya.

This post originally appeared on Stephanie's blog at http://passmeanothercupcake.com

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  • A Smallpox Virus Could Be A Promising Treatment

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