Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Toughness, triumph, transformation

I’m not really in a writing mood, but I wanted to bookmark this for myself. I finished that final at 0-dark-30 Sunday morning. I still feel strong and smart and proud of myself.

I’m climbing such a long mountain with my body, and I have five months to go. I’d forgotten how great it feels, to finish any hard thing.

When I got the diagnosis, last April with four weeks left of school, all deadlines blew out of the water. None of us knew what I would be able to do, or how, or when—and it didn’t matter; I had to take care of my health. My faculty completely supported me. They still do.

I didn’t have a deadline for this project. I kept asking for extensions, and getting them—or just getting, “do this when you can.” Which I needed, for much of that time. He finally said, “You’ve got to do it before spring.” I did. And I learned so much about myself.

I learned that I still can think—just differently. (Instead of braiding strands together, I start somewhere, bounce off somewhere else, and end up with a word cloud of ideas.) I know I’ll get my left-brain back, but I don’t want to lose this ability, either. I learned that work takes me longer, but if I can muster the energy to persist for a few hours a day, I still can get things done. I learned that I can work through exhaustion and frustration. I learned that I am still competent—and spiritually, psychologically, more than I was before the cancer. I worked through and around what I couldn’t do—and found a way to do what I could.

I got to get out from under the chemotherapy bus, so to speak, and feel good about myself again. This is as important to surviving, as injecting myself with needles three times a week. It’s a whole different spin on resurrection.

I say that cancer killed my fear. In the deepest existential sense, I mean that. But I was afraid of not having the mental ability to do this. I proved myself wrong. And now, I can do whatever’s in front of me.



susankay said...

you go, girl!

Two Auntees said...

Good to hear you are doing okay through the chemo. Keep going. You are getting closer and closer to no chemo.

it's margaret said...

word cloud.

Dear God --Kirstin is one damn fine woman. Thank you for making her as she is. Be with her where she is now. And please bless all her word clouds. Amen.

Lauralew said...

"A whole different spin on resurrection."

Wow. What an amazing statement. You are such a blessing! Hugs!

Paul said...


What Margaret said: "Dear God --Kirstin is one damn fine woman. Thank you for making her as she is. Be with her where she is now."


David@Montreal said...

Amen to Margaret and Paul's prayer

Kirstin said...

I wrote this post a year ago--and that prayer still very much applies. David, thank you for calling me back here.