Hm.  So now what?

Cancer treatments have been on my mind constantly for the past 9 months, and now that I’m finished, I’m not sure where to go next.  I am at the same time overcome with joy and hamstrung by a lack of direction.  I had one singular goal to focus on, and now that I’ve reached it, it’s a little disorienting to switch back to “normal” life.  Like graduating from college and getting thrown out into a new chapter of the world, I need someone to point out North to me (relevant: The Paradox of Choice).  Yesterday at the proton center wasn’t all too dissimilar from graduation.  I got applause and cheers and cards and pictures taken and a certificate denoting me as the 285th person to finish treatment at the center and there was cake and donuts and me forcing the staff to listen to The Age of Adz one last time while I laid perfectly still for treatment.

I also got to take home one of the plastic compensators that was used for my treatment.  I couldn’t find a picture of one online for my post the other week, so here’s an out of focus one I just snapped of mine:compensator

This piece sat in front of the brass aperture and controlled the depth of the proton beam that was treating the tumor.  Where there’s less material, the protons went deeper into my body.  Where there’s more material, the protons lost some energy, therefore striking me with less energy and not going as deep.

I do also get to go back and pick up my mesh mask and one brass aperture as a souvenir, but they need some time to stop being radioactive, so I couldn’t just take them all with me when I left.  I’m not sure what use I’ll have for them, but they’re still pretty cool souvenirs nonetheless.  If only they’d let me take home all 8 or 10 (or however many different brass apertures I actually had), I’d make some bookshelves out of them or something.

I suppose the next goal on the horizon I can set my sights on is surgery to get my port out, or maybe the 5 year mark of having cancer in remission and being declared “cured”, but those are just waiting games, and are bound to take up much less of my mental energy.  Not so much “things to accomplish”, as “things that I want to happen to me”.

There is a sense of urgency to not waste any time.  To channel this extra energy capacity into something useful.  Something more than just marathons and triathlons.  Something in the here and now.