Monday, May 12, 2014

fully-grown adult human becomes adult human again after years in limbo.

I have finally moved back to Portland. I have an apartment, a roommate, a gas bill. I get myself all the places I need to go. I have good blood counts and enough of an immune system to allow me to be a regular participant in life outside doctor's offices and carefully-orchestrated ferry rides and trips to the grocery. I do not hyperventilate when I see someone sneeze without covering their mouth, but I do still wipe the grocery cart handle down before I can touch it. I make sure I am taking my last couple medications. I make sure I eat. I exercise: I work out with my resistance bands and hand weights; I jog some; I hike; I surf again.

Unpacking has been difficult. I have three lives melding together in a shared apartment. There are scraps of my life before, including mementos, outdoor gear, a surprising number of CD's, and shoes. During-cancer life is full of clothes meant for someone reduced to skin hanging on a tiny frame, toiletries that were left behind and then packed into a storage unit, hair accouterments for long hair that hadn't yet fallen out, trinkets and tidbits that serve no purpose other than to remind me of a tragic romance. Unpacking has meant sifting through boxes and boxes and boxes, deciding what to hold on to and what to let go. So far, it's half of one and half of the other. Now that I am about 85% finished (aside from my books, whose bookcase broke when I moved out in November), I am becoming less tolerant of items that can't be thrown into a frame pack or trunk at a moment's notice, of those things that clutter my corners and don't move me forward.

I moved in at the end of April, but I went to surf camp for the first week of May. I only got half my unpacking done before I had to leave, and the emotional process was perhaps what I needed going into camp. It opened up a lot of things I had locked down in order to get through the transition from Cancer Patient to Regular Adult Human. I thought I wasn't ready to deal with any of what I still hadn't let go of, that the things that hung on needed to be suffocated. I heard, "you are so inspiring" and it made me want to start a bar fight. Not inspiring. Fawn-legged, lost, uncertain. I was far away from myself and stuck on the fact that the BMT had taken so much from me. But then I went to Camp Koru run by Athletes for Cancer and closed the book on feeling less-than. That is a whole other blog post.

Now I am back and chucking piles of waste out of my life. Bags of garbage, boxes of donation items, a steady stream of what I don' t need. Just in time for summer. Just in time for something new.

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