“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real, you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.” –The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams. According to this, cancer has made me a real girl! I feel honored that I am made of tough enough material to withstand this sort of love from the universe.
I am constantly on the prowl for the silver lining in my days and today is no exception. I have completed round three of chemo and am still able to type and chew gum, but not much else. It feels like fatigue has settled in for the long haul but I’m content to sit on the floor for hours, playing with my daughter. The house has seen cleaner days, but who needs more than a pristine spot on the couch to blog from? I have those days where a walk on the beach is possible (thankfully,one of my my partners has very short legs that allow me to walk slowly!) and I even got a few bicep curls in!
Of course, baby number two decided that Braxton Hicks contractions fit into this picture of exertion, so the workout was quick. I’m realizing that I can’t be exactly who and what I was before cancer but that’s ok. My hair may have been loved off by chemo, and my joints may be loose from carrying two babies but I feel real. I feel connected to the community of men and women who have gone through similar circumstances. I feel strong every time I pass a chemo milestone. I feel excited when I think about meeting this new baby. I feel blessed every time I get to lay down for a nap in the middle of the day. I feel adored when my husband kisses me and rubs my feet. These aren’t things to be taken lightly. I know one side of the coin is filled with exhaustion, nausea and an overwhelming “to do” list, but with searching for the silver linings in each, I find myself blessed beyond measure. So, bring on the shabbiness and the eyeballs falling out! I’ll give you a list of positives that will make your head spin! Because being “Real” is worth all the hard work.