OyChicago blog

Two feet, Two legs, Two worlds, Two selves— One life

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08/23/2011

Jenna Benn photo 

So here we are— 11 weeks post-treatment, eight weeks post-infection, six weeks post-reconnection with the outside world.

It feels great to be back, but I am not really back.

So where exactly am I? And who exactly is this?

I feel as if I am living in gumby’s over-stretched body. I have one foot planted in the life that I used to lead, that is familiar, cancer-free, routine, and safe. The other foot is planted in a new life that is unfamiliar, cancerous, exciting, and frightening.

I am attempting to walk around with mismatched shoes and over-stretched limbs that are being yanked and pulled in opposing directions. I am working hard to get my feet and legs to communicate with one another, but they are both so opinionated!

The leg and foot that exists in the life that I used to lead has decided to go on a sprint, exploring the roads that are familiar, routine, comfortable and committed to memory. I run down these paths with a new found urgency and fear that one day I will be robbed of these memories, robbed of this space, robbed of this life.

And then there is the other leg and foot that is planted in this new territory, this new space, this new existence. This world operates at a slower pace, is filled with new emotions, new feelings, new ideas and a new perspective. All of my senses are magnified— I see and feel things differently. I bruise more easily.

Two legs, two feet, two worlds, two selves, that are sprinting and walking in vehemently opposed directions.

How can I really be back, when I am headed in opposite directions? How can I really be back, when part of me is choosing to live in a time before cancer? How can I really be back when the other part of me is trying to find my footing in a post-treatment world?

As I continue to try to live in both worlds, I am really living in neither.

As I work to find my footing, work to find my balance, work to integrate my two feet, my two legs, my two worlds, my two selves, I am still fighting cancer.

What many do not understand is that while I may not be tied up— I am still fighting. While I may not be awaiting another round of treatment— I am still fighting. While I may not be bound to my bed, mal-nourished and exhausted— I am still fighting.

I fight every day to be here, to be present, and to be alive.

I fight every day to live fully, live gratefully, and live mindfully.

I fight every day to hold on to the hope that Cancer will not return, will not reenter my body, will not reenter the life that I am trying to slowly, pragmatically and thoughtfully rebuild.

And perhaps it is that fear that is preventing me from taking these 2 feet, 2 legs, 2 worlds and 2 selves and integrating it into 1 life.

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