Friday, April 27, was the two year anniversary of my cancer diagnosis. I always hear people talk about cancer as a "journey" - but ultimately it is one walked alone. I remember trying to decide whether I should have my hemicolectomy surgery at the NJ Cancer Center or at Sloan Kettering. It was agonizing, and the only topic of family discussions for a solid two weeks.
Finally, my mom took me aside and said, "You know that you have our love and support, and we can keep going over the pros and cons of each center for as long as you need - but ultimately, when you are lying on that table, it's going to be just you and the doctor; nobody else. You can't doubt your choice."
My younger body was riddled with scars. Most of them are now more than 20 years old, and have faded so much that they are barely noticeable to the naked eye... reduced to an existence sitting on a shelf in the hazy halls of dark memories. Once in a while, I find myself wandering those halls - remembering cigarette burns and black eyes - and marvel at my tenacity for finding a way out. I've never been ashamed of my past, nor have I ever felt sorry for myself... it is simply part of my life's story; nothing more, nothing less.
Now my body has a new scar. It's a strange alien like thumbprint above my bellybutton - where they put the surgical port in that took half my intestines and lymph nodes out. It's a reminder of how my body was taken from me for a while. I still haven't gotten it all back, but I'm making progress.