Every so often, I just need to escape. Whether it’s the wanderlust I’m never able to shake or the joy of seeing new and old places and faces or just needing to get out of town for a few days. When I daydream, it’s about traveling. A strong need to escape grabs ahold of me from time to time. Usually it means I pack up the kids and we burn up the road.
During chemo all I wanted to do was escape. To not feel tied to this house and my bed. Even though my bed was wonderfully comfortable, I desperately wanted to leave the confines of my room. My house, our little beloved town. And the confines of chemo and my obligation to return to the infusion center on a weekly basis. And then to have to walk into Martha Jefferson Hospital one more time to have my breasts removed.
I wholeheartedly missed my ability to pack up and go. I was too sick, too tired and my immune system too low to go anywhere. I laid in my bed wanting nothing more than to leave. To run away from it all. To enjoy life again. To simply have the freedom to leave.
But the need to kill this cancer growing inside me was far greater than my wanting to leave. So I/we endured. And in the end, of course, it’s worth it.
But this summer, with being fortunate enough not to have to endure radiation, we escaped. We traveled. We danced. We laughed. We relaxed. We hugged. We cried. We processed. And we talked. A lot. We still haven’t seen everyone yet. Mostly because I’m still way more tired than I look like I am. Also, it can be really emotional to see folks that I haven’t seen since before treatment and unfortunately that drains you. So my reserves of any amount of energy (emotional and physical) are strictly and consciously directed toward Jason and the kids for the time being.
But we did it. We left the house. Left town. Left the state. Whew. And now I am tired. But in such a good way because it helped to hit the reset button for us. We are finally able to come home and not dread going in the house. Jason is able to go to work and be fully focused because he is finally having days where he is not thinking about his wife having cancer. I can walk in the house, in our room and not dread doing so.
We talked last night and there are still “cancer reminders” laying around the house. And both equally decided that those need to go. There are a few things that are sweet, sentimental and empowering that we will keep. But most of it needs to be out of sight. Because it will forever be in our mental line of sight. We will donate and pass on things. But I also told Jason if he comes home to find giant scorch marks in the driveway, don’t judge, just know I set fire to some things too (probably chemo clothes). Even the extremely large vat of unopened hand sanitizer (which we will graciously donate to the school) has to go. Because when I see it, I am immediately reminded of why it was there in the first place.
Now that we are more content being home, we are re-nesting. Changing and removing some things inside the house to make our house a place where we continue to feel comfy and loved and peaceful.
Wanderlust still lives in my heart and I’ll still get the urge to run away from it all. Like the holidays this year, I see that coming a 100 miles away. Last year the holidays absolutely sucked. Sure, we made the best out of them. We took those rotten lemons we were figuratively handed, added a lot of sugar and made lemonade. Granted, it still had a rotten flavor, but we drank it and marched begrudgingly through those pitchers of rotten lemonade. I already know for this year I don’t want to be home on the holidays. That I want to escape/run away/bolt/leave this house during that time. For a week or a day or just an hour. Maybe because I can, but partly because it is all still so life-alteringly heavy.
I do see a lot more travel in our future. And us finding ways to make it happen. There are so many places I haven’t seen, faces I haven’t met yet and things yet to do. We are planning. Taking life day by day, but making those bigger plans, one by one. Slowly stretching our minds to accept that there is a future and it is okay to plan. And following in the footsteps of a friend who went through this a few years back, I’m making a list of all thing things I/we want to do. Big and small.
And honestly, you should too. Where do you want to go? What do you want to do? Life is short folks, make it happen!