This morning was fairly typical: In the still-dark of the night, my daughter snuggled into bed between my husband and I, and drifted off to warm, cozy, dreamy sleep. I knew she was dreaming because her feet started kicking, like a puppy dreaming of running and playing.
I snuggled next to her and closed my eyes.
Minutes ticked by.
Slowly it dawned on me that I was wide awake. I rolled over & stared at the ceiling.
The digital clock read 4:30a.
Is this normal?
I mean, is this the new normal? My new normal?
I keep waiting for things to "go back to normal." To go back to the way they were before all the cancer treatments. But when I voiced this urgent request, both my dad & my therapist made the same startling suggestion: Maybe now there is a "new normal."
So as I lay there in bed in the wee hours, my gaze drifted out the sliding glass door into the backyard. Although it was still very dark, the backyard was faintly lit from the Christmas Tree lights in the living room. As I watched, a faint silvery shape -- a little animal -- scurried along the top of the fence, disappeared (presumably to climb down the tree, not because of magic), and then reappeared on the ground.
I watched it rooting around on the ground. It was easier to see if I didn't look right at it, but looked slightly passed it.
Suddenly I knew what it was. A baby opossum.
Is this a sign, I wondered? The sign of the new year, both 2013 and my post-cancer year? It is a baby after all. But... it is also an opossum... *shudder!*
OK, Internet, what have you got for me? What is the symbolism of the opossum?
Opossum may be relaying to you that you are to expect the unexpected and be clever in achieving your victory. This could be a victory over a bothersome salesman or a noisy neighbor. In essence, opossum is beckoning you to use your brain, your sense of drama, and -- surprise! -- to leap over some barrier to your progress.
Whoa. The Internet did not disappoint!
The opossum symbolizes "diversion." When all else fails, the opossum plays dead. When the confused rival walks or looks away, the opossum runs to safety. If opossum shows up for you, you are being asked to use strategy in some present situation. Victory is sweet when the victory is one of mental as well as physical prowess. (Source.)
Gonna have to think on that one.... but it sounds promising.
New Normal, here I come!
Thank you, baby opossum.
PS. Today is my last day of radiation treatments. Woot! While it has only been 6 weeks -- 28 treatments -- I'm so ready for them to be over. My skin is red and sore. Sleeping is difficult because the sheets or my shirt or whatever feels like it is rubbing my skin off. My arm-pit is scabbed. I have a little routine between the Calendula lotion and the Hydrocordizone. And now there is a new one. Silver sulfadiazine. That one I'm supposed to use when my arm pit begins to ooze (my least favorite word!).
I don't mean to sound complain-y.
One big reason I wanted to write about my cancer journey was so people facing this same struggle would know what to expect. So here is my reflection on radiation:
- It isn't has hard as chemo.
- It doesn't hurt as much as recovering from surgery.
- But it does hurt. More than a sunburn.
- Use the lotions & creams liberally.
- Be kind to yourself. Radiation is no joke. You're still very much in the thick of it all.
- Celebrate when you're done.