Micromoments

Today was a day of micromoments. Moments where my emotions overrun the proverbial cup. I imagine most of us can remember or know teenagers where their emotions are al laflutter and you can’t tell exactly what to expect. As adults we become so much more smooth at these transitions of high to low or of happiness to sadness. One issue with cancer which is not really bad but I find quite interesting is that the brain sort of reverts to that ability to rapidly change. Often early on and when not feeling good there isn’t really a whole lot to be excited about and so the evidence of this change is a little difficult to pick up on. Everyone talks about the roller coaster of emotion. The truth of the matter is that early on and with bad news along the journey we feel that irritating pit of the stomach flip flop. The emotions of sadness, loss, and uncertainty are so powerful and usually uncomfortable that even a little improvement can seem so drastically different even though it isn’t a major change for the better.

Now, as I go through my days I am starting to have points of true enjoyment, times when although cancer is in my mind it is not sitting in the front row heckling me. During these stretches of time in the day I feel like my mood is so much more upbeat and normal than at any point during the last year. These times aren’t really that special but I have climbed away from the valley floor and seem to have a better view of my surroundings which always feels good. The interesting point, the micromoment, of the day is when suddenly I am a bit overwhelmed by the low point memories of the battle thus far. For instance, today at my doctor visit with Dr.Lui we were talking about how it is quite amazing how fast we are approaching a year. I recapped for him one of the medical students asking me how my physician/friend responded when I asked him about my labs. I told Steve I guess he probably in his mind freaked out but was calm enough to think it over and that calmness was reassuring. I suddenly felt so apologetic for asking him, so relieved I had, so sad at what it lead to, and so happy that I was reaching a milestone in the disease that I could do nothing but accept the tears.

Later in the morning Jim and I went to visit Rosanne Iverson who many of you know from her guestbook prose. We have not seen each other in years and I wouldn’t even say we really knew each other when I lived in Steamboat but the moment I got a hug from her, the overwhelming thoughts of her posts when I felt like shit, or when I felt good, the gratitude for the insight, the sick kinship of a cancer diagnosis, and the relief that I would get a chance to say thank you again illicited more drops of saline from the eyes. If this wasn’t enough shortly after we ran into Valerie Waldrop and we started talking about the upcoming Tour of ANchorage. I am still not convinced I can make in talking about the symbolism of partaking in the race drew out feelings of relief I could even consider it, anger that it wasn’t a given I could do it, sadness to think of why it felt so important for me last year to watch Brooke finish (I ditched work early to watch her because I knew something was wrong and I was freaking out I would never see that again), and simple excitement that people wanted me to do this for similar reasons. I think Valerie must think I am a bit odd as I started tearing up publicly as we sat there waiting to order coffee.

What else could I call them? Micromoments, where I know my emotional system has reverted to a almost prepubescent lability which I have little control over. The truth of the matter is they are short lived. Instead of wandering endlessly for days in the dim light of that dark canyon of cancer these moments are more like the clouds of the afternoon thunderstorm passing over me blocking ever so briefly the warmth of the sun. I know that there is a good chance one of these days that storm might drop a deluge of rain or even a bolt of lightning. That loss of the sense of security or wonder in the beauty of lightning will probably never return but the fact is right now the sun seems to be dominating my weather pattern. The micromoments are a bit odd at times but I am glad I am getting them because it means I have more true stretches of happiness which is something everyone wants. I wish you all sunny days and I apologize if you get a little weathered or wet from one of my micromoments.

Head Up, Heart Strong. I need a cure.

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