In the poem “If” by Rudyard Kipling, there is this line…”If you wait and not be tired by waiting… yours is the Earth and everything that's in it”.
And so I wait.
It’s been a month since my last radiation treatment. I feel better than I felt a month ago, but I have a ways to go until I feel the level of zippy to which I am accustomed…before all this started. In the last few weeks I’ve kayaked for a short while on a beautiful day with a group of friends, I’ve picked peaches for a bit with Jon and Rachel, I‘ve partaken of various ice creams establishments across Long Island (always good), I’ve been to the beach, and I’ve had several friends visit from out of town. These events have helped to assuage the otherwise boredom and loneliness I feel. Most everyone is doing, and I’m in a sort of limbo place.
Before I had surgery, I was doing, I had a goal…it was to finally find out what kind of tumor I had. After surgery, I was researching my post surgery options, and then organizing my treatment schedule. Every day felt purposeful. My radiation treatments while debilitating were very goal oriented. I was not waiting, I was doing. I felt a sense of control.
These days I don’t really do…I wait…unless waiting is a form of doing…it is according to Rudyard Kipling. I’m supposed to relax, rebuild, regroup, mend, get stronger…this is so passive…not really something that comes naturally to me. While I try to get comfortable with this new form of doing, I feel frustrated that my tongue, which felt better before radiation, feels worse. What can I do? Not much, I’m supposed to relax, rebuild, and wait. My sinuses hurt, my head aches, my swallowing is challenged, by head is bald in places. What can I do? Not much, just wait. So I think while I’m in my waiting state…what can I do? And this thought comes to me…I may not be able to physically control what happens to me, like how long it takes to heal, what heals when…but I can control the thoughts in my head…and this realization makes me feel better.
I tell myself that my tongue, which to my ear makes me sound like I’ve had too much to drink at lunch, is temporary. I tell myself that my sinus pain and headaches are merely the indication of healing and nothing else. I tell myself that all that has been, will be worthwhile. I tell myself that I’ll heal quickly, totally, and finally.
And then I wait.