The night after my CT, I dreamed that my dog had been in a terrible accident. In the dream, I rushed to the hospital and waited, feeling anxious, terrified and grief-stricken, while he was in surgery. In the end, my dear dog survived the accident and was expected to recover. He was, however, really traumatized.
It wasn't until I was re-counting this dream at the breakfast table that I realized that it hadn't been about the dog at all.
Back in July, when I got the first good CT result, I was overjoyed at first but then angst-ridden. And the reality is that while I have now twice received the best news possible, my day-to-day life will not change very much.
I will continue with chemo - two weeks on, two weeks off.
I am still a cancer patient.
But as I continue to defy the odds (the stats on survival rates for women with metastatic breast cancer are abysmal and the stats when the metastasis is in the liver, even worse), I need to give myself permission to let down my guard a little. To be hopeful.
It's starting to feel OK to make plans for a few months in the future. And in a few months, perhaps I will feel I can plan even further ahead than that.
My friend T. said to me as we left my appointment on Tuesday, "You are going to get to see your kids grow up." I am not sure I'm ready to let myself believe that but I replay her words to myself and I feel warmed by them.
I'm starting with teaching myself not to panic whenever I feel the familiar stitch in my side. I know now that the pain is due to scarring but I am still working on quieting the panic it instills.
So, not much has changed but everything has changed.
I can't have my old life back but I have a great deal of hope.
I think I can live with that.