I have an embarrassing fact to share with you. You've Got Mail is one of my very favorite movies of all times. I love that cheesy, sappy, predictable chick flick film. Don't hate me because I'm shallow!
Anyway, tonight, I feel a little like Kathleen Kelly (the Meg Ryan character) from the movie, because this keeps running through my head, "Dear friend, I like to start my notes to you as if we're already in the middle of a conversation."
You've been on my mind. I know you're out there, because I can see you're clicking in. Some of you click often. Others wait to see me on your RSS feed. Point is, I know you're there, and I've been thinking about you. Unfortunately, I've been thinking about a whole bunch of other stuff, too.
I've been all wrapped up in this beast that is breast cancer. And concerned about where I'm going to find the money to pay for all of it. And worried, truly, about what "all of it" actually entails, because as I'm learning, "all of it" seems to mean one damn thing after another.
I've continued to struggle with my job situation and have celebrated unexpected and perhaps unearned successes. I've been delighted to be sharing a super secret surprise for my baby sister on her 40th birthday! We've been planning it since the end of March, and I feared desperately that I would say something here in passing that would spoil the surprise. I learned the hard way that sometimes when you can't filter the words coming out of your mouth (or your fingers, in this case), it's just best to say nothing at all. Lucky for me, the surprise was last weekend, so Free at Last! Free at Last! Thank God Almighty, I'm Free at Last! (with apologies to MLK).
So why have you not heard from me, during this emotional and tumultuous time? I tend to write the most meaningful stuff when my soul is stirred. And surely, my soul has been stirred, not shaken, over the past two months. You would think the words would be pouring out of me, just begging to be read.
As it turns out, not so much.
I truly believe that the words I put out for you to read are ultimately a picture of me, Lady Steele, modern superhero. Mom of LittleG, wife of MrG. Goddess of Booth Sales, and Excel Genius. The Wizard of Oz to my friend Dorothy, and a bright yellow box for my favorite purple crayon.
I could get hit by a bus tomorrow and physically what will remain of me are photographs and notes in a contact management system. Canceled checks and medical bills. A beloved husband and daughter, a lovely family of origin and their families. A box of fantastic jewelry that I hope someone would love as much someday as I do now. Some really, really terrific friends.
And these words.
I need these words to count, to mean something. I don't want to put words out here, simply for the sake of putting words. I want the spirit to move me - to impart something to you or the future that I feel is worth hearing, something that would define me to my daughter, or to hers. A funny little anecdote (although clearly, short prose is not my strength), a thought-provoking quandary, or a sappy little story that makes you want to hug the ones you love.
So I have been pretty damn quiet over the past eight or so weeks. What strikes me most about this self-imposed quiet time is that I have not only been quiet on the screen, but my inner writer has been silenced.
In the "normal days" my inner writer speaks to me, suggesting funny phrases, or the subject of a blog. She inspires me to think creatively, be funny, tap into emotions. Sometimes all I get is a phrase, a simple snapshot or a funny outline. Other times, I get full blown themes that I have to explore with myself (can I do that without going blind??) before I commit them to cyberspace.
But somehow dampened down by the stress and the fatigue and the fear, the voices in my head have gone silent. I logged nearly 16 hours behind the wheel of the crimson steed last weekend, and I have to admit that my inner writer and I wrote nary a sentence the entire time.
Tonight, though, after a super sized glass of white zinfandel, my inner writer tapped me on the shoulder and reminded me to write, to reach out to you, and just to say, "hello dear friend."
And so I did. I probably owe it to you to bring you up to speed on what I'm willing to share online. I have been through two surgeries now, and my surgeon assures me he's gotten it all. Just to be sure, I'll go through six and a half weeks of radiation therapy, which I'll begin in about 10 days. I have an incision about 3 inches long, shaped like an eyebrow, slightly below and to the left of my heart.
I have a little pain, especially when I move my left arm in certain directions. Sleeping is a bit uncomfortable, but I've been so exhausted each night that I have fallen into a deep, noisy sleep, much to the chagrin of MrG. I'm sleeping reliably day after day until my alarm clock goes off, which usually pisses me off royally.
I'm eating well and drinking little (last weekend and tonight notwithstanding). I'm taking pleasure in my family and friends and my job that I love so much. I am excited at the prospect of having this all behind me in a few weeks and eagerly anticipating wearing a pink shirt in the Susan G. Komen in October.
I was glad to hear from my inner writer this evening, as I hope you were, as well. I don't know when the two of us will make an appearance again, but I do suspect we'll be back. And when we do, it will be meaningful, and it will personal. Because, as Kathleen Kelly said in one of the greatest movies ever made, "Whatever else anything is, it ought to begin by being personal."
Ever forward, friends.