I am enjoying my freedom, but cancer continues to dictate my choices. My new freedom means not being awakened every couple of hours by a nurse with pills in her hand. It’s not seeing doctors with their masks and their caring, furrowed brows, and not being connected to an IV machine 24 hours a day….
Freedom now is being able to eat a home-cooked meal — and then fighting to keep it down.
Freedom also means being patient with my loving mother and boyfriend, who try hard to fill the shoes of the hospital staff, cooking for me in the communal kitchen down the hall and making sure I don’t fall off my chair in the shower. Freedom is a pillbox adorned with the days of the week, and the responsibility to take the medicines on time. Freedom also means returning to the hospital several times a week, where I receive hydration, magnesium and the nutrients that chemotherapy has wiped out.
But freedom is also the crazy urge that I’ve felt twice in the last two weeks: a fleeting feeling of being O.K. — like everyone else — even if the truth is that I spend most of my hours in bed.
I had more freedom, as could be at home rather than in a ‘halfway house’, but remember the slow pace of the first few months of rebuilding.