Saturday, December 17, 2011

Put the Gun Down

[So I started writing this on a the bus, but actually I'm currently in my apartment in Pittsburgh, not the Megabus just so you know]

Hello from a Megabus! I’m on my way to Pittsburgh right now, heading back to my apartment, my life, my friends, my old self.  I have this feeling now that I’m creeping closer to the day when I get to resume grad school and working that it’s too soon.  Before I felt like I had all the time in the time in the world to prepare for re-immersion into the real world.  But all of a sudden it seems so soon and so fast.  In a few weeks the semester will start.  I’ll go back to my internship.  I’ll be living in my apartment again.  So much, so quickly.  It’s freaking me out a little.  But that doesn’t mean that I don’t want it to happen.  I guess I’m just questioning how hard of a transition it will be for me psychologically, emotionally, and physically.  Am I going to be too tired to do everything?  Will I get depressed if I can’t?  Will I be able to graduate this summer? 

I don’t know.  I don’t know.  I don’t know.

These are the questions running through my head these days.  Now that I’ve let go of a lot of the uncertainty that came with this course of treatment, I feel more confident that health-wise I will continue to improve and (hopefully) reach full remission.  However letting go of that uncertainty means that I’ve made room for all sorts of new worries.   I’ve let go of being in “survival mode” and now all the emotion and feelings that I pushed aside and told, “I’ll deal with you later.  This is not the time for tears.  It’s a time for strength and positivity.  We have to survive, so hush, you’ll get your turn soon enough.” 

Well here they are.  Demanding attention, having waited their turn.  But I don’t want to pay them any attention.  I don’t want to sort through sadness and anxiety.  I want happiness and celebration.  I want to feel good and light. 

But there is no denying that there is a feeling of heaviness lingering around me.  The feeling that you just went through something big and you need to look it in the eye and give it its due respect. 

The bell has sounded and the hard part is over.  It’s only right that I turn around and take one last look at my defeated opponent, to put my hand on his shoulder and say,

“You fought well, but I fought better.”  And “You’re strong, but not as strong as I am.”  And, “You were tough opponent, but just not as tough as I am.”

But I don’t want to turn around and look back.  What if he has one more hit in him, one that I can’t block?  I want to keep walking running away and never look back.  I used up all my bravery to get this far.  I’m all tapped out.  (Can't someone else do it for me?)

It’s like at the end of a scary movie, after the bad guy is assumed dead, but he always has one last scare in him.  Even if he’s lying on the floor bleeding like mad, you’re still nervous because he’s in your sight and history has proven that the bad guy always has one last murder attempt in him.  So you have to yell at the main character, “Don’t you put that gun down, girl! You know he isn’t dead!”

Aplastic anemia is still too close for comfort and I don’t know if I can put the gun down, as much as I want to move on.

It’s like if you’ve been in a car accident or close call, you know that you don’t relax immediately after you’re out of danger.  Just because the impact is over and you’ve pulled your car over to the side of the road, doesn’t mean you are calmly waiting for medical attention.  The adrenaline will run through your body and you’ll be shaking for a while.  And the next time you get into a car or drive past that intersection where you got hit, that feeling will return, and you’ll remember how scared you were.

That’s where I am right now.  I’m here and I survived.  And I intellectually believe the worst is over.  But I’m still reeling from the impact of the crash.  My hands are shaking, my legs feel weak, and my mind is still spinning with the possibility of a very different ending to this story.  Part of me is not fully convinced that it’s okay to put the gun down, take the boxing gloves off, and walk away from the crash (I’m apparently loving the analogies this morning).  Part of me doesn’t believe that life will leave me alone now because I’ve proven I’m not to be messed with.  I can still feel this disease hanging over my shoulder, holding me back.

Baby steps.  I think that’s key.  I’m not going to be the same person I was when I left, the moment I move back to Pittsburgh.  I think expecting myself to be will only make me depressed.  And unfortunately, as much as I want to bury these feelings, I think I have to let myself feel the weight of what just happened.  I have to let myself be sad, because I am a little.  I have to let myself be disappointed with life, because I am a little.  And I have to let myself believe that I am strong enough to feel those things without becoming them.  Happiness feels lighter when it’s not a mask covering up sadness.  And I want the lightness that I know is to come.  

With heaps and tons of love and appreciation,



  1. In my book, you can be secretly packin' for as long as you need to be. I'll get you a thigh-holster. :] I'm so glad, thankful, overjoyed that after two of these battles we (YOU) have come out on top. I love you!

  2. Don't know quite what to say. As your mom I want to carry your weight, your anguish, your disease and show it that the strength of a mother's love has more power and will heal you, make you light and bring you happiness, but this is your journey, so I pray for you and I love you with all my heart and am here for all your needs...just ask. Love you more than you know.