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16 Days of Silence

November 28, 2014

It’s been a little while since I last wrote – about 16 days of silence. 16 days that have felt like 6 months.

SilenceI force myself to do the things that I need to do, like get out of bed and shower. And after I shower, I need a nap, because I’m exhausted. I am still functioning on sheer willpower. I wonder how much I have left. I haven’t felt like talking to anyone or seeing anyone. If I haven’t replied to you, it’s nothing personal. Know that I haven’t been replying to anyone.

My Master of Public Health (MPH) cohort graduated last week. I wasn’t with them and the occasion hit me harder than I thought it would. (If any recent MPH-ers are reading this – congratulations. I am so proud of you.) It isn’t jealousy, because I don’t want what others have at their expense. I just want the opportunity to achieve the same thing. The impatient part of me wants that opportunity right now. People have said that I can graduate next year. I’m young. I have my whole life ahead of me. Things like graduations are arbitrary. But these milestones are what keep us going, signposts in the dark that give us a sense of purpose and direction. When the ability to strive for something -anything- is lost, whether by a disability or a disease or perhaps even old age, there’s something really sad about it.

Instead of graduating, I had an appointment to discuss my radiation therapy. I thought I was prepared for it. But before entering the office, I stopped and broke down. Just a floodgate of frustration, anger, sadness and exhaustion.

It’s not fair. I know life isn’t fair and I know complaining about it doesn’t help. I am a rational human being, perhaps more so than many.

I know I just need to ride this out. I know I have so much good in my life. I know I have potential. I know I have people who care about me and love me. I know that my chances of recovering fully are great. I know that thyroid cancer is not a death sentence. I know about faith and I know about belief and I know about positive thinking. I know to make the best of the good and sometimes even great moments in between. I know, I know. There is likely nothing you could tell me that I haven’t already thought about.

Even if I stopped writing, in the grand scheme of things, it wouldn’t make a difference. People will continue their lives as best they can. When someone dies, we all stop but for a fleeting moment and then things continue. They have to continue.

I fear that I am becoming cynical. That glass isn’t half full anymore. I remind myself to keep dancing in the rain. Some days it works, some days not so much. But, just like forcing myself to take a shower, I forced myself to write. To write anything. And here it is – so perhaps not all is lost. This post will break 16 days of silence in a virtual world. It is easier online. I don’t have to hear people’s voices or see their faces. Or maybe it’s because people can’t hear my voice or see my face.