Yesterday marked an anniversary of sorts. One year ago yesterday, I went under the knife–my choice–to eradicate cancer found in my uterine lining. The good doctor took my uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes, ovaries and some lymph nodes, but he left me healthy. In other words, cancer-free. I should have no complaints and I don’t, not really.
What I do have is a deep and lasting sense of loss. Again, my choice. Part of me is gone, not just literally but figuratively; the carefree feeling I used to have, that I had all the time in the world. I don’t. The future isn’t something I can foresee, let alone control. The realization both scares and humbles me.
That feeling has remained close to me this past year. I’m more aware of my body’s fragility, my own mortality. Time doesn’t yawn before me like the summers of my youth used to do. There is an end point. I can’t see it, but I know it’s there. Maybe that explains the unpleasant undercurrent tugging at me of late, the feeling of disquiet. The quiet desperation. The fear that time is running out for me. The sense of hopelessness, jealousy, dread.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. Just when I feel myself sliding toward the tipping point of no return, something happens that yanks me back a foot or two; almost as if some god has taken pity on me and turned the light back on. Or maybe it’s me, putting a positive spin on things because the alternative is just too bleak.
Case in point: my R&R went belly up last week, which could have been a bad thing, a real disappointment, but it wasn’t. Agent X is leaving the profession. I took a deep breath, then wrote her an email; thanked her for her expertise and suggestions, told her she’d helped me make CHERRY a better novel. The manuscript I send out from here will be my best work, affording me a better chance of seeing something positive happen. And I just received a request for the full for EFFIN’ ALBERT. A literary agency in London read my query and the first three cpts, and wanted a month exclusive, which I agreed to. We shall see what happens there. I don’t know.
What I do know is this: we don’t know what waits for us around the corner. I mean, right around the corner, just out of sight. Who knows what horrible or wonderful thing awaits us. I’ve been dealt some crappy hands in my lifetime so far. My dad dying so young, my foot injury and all the back problems, having to quit teaching, all the medical crap, the cancer . . . heck, the other day I was at the hospital with my mom, who needed an ultrasound to check her hip. It hurt, she’d had it replaced years ago. Turns out, she was bleeding internally from Coumadin, she could have bled to death which proves my point: you never fucking know.
This post is rambling somewhat and I apologize for that. I think I’m trying to wrap my head around the significance of an anniversary which was, simultaneously, terrible and wonderful. It took parts from me, but gave me hope. It could have been so much worse, and it might yet be so much better. One just doesn’t know. It’s the stuff of life, you guys, taking the good with the bad, trying to do your best in the time you have, which is never guaranteed and therefore. . .