Last Thursday I was the 11:45 Echo Cardiogram and 12:36 Radiation. Friday I was 12:36 Radiation and 12:55 Blood Lab. Yesterday I was 12:40 Radiation and 1:10 Radiation Oncologist Evaluation.

Since February, my entire schedule has been blood labs, doctor’s visits, procedures, and tests. My calendar has been dominated by Kaiser (HMO), Kaiser and Kaiser. I’ve spent so much time at various Kaiser facilities, my picture should be on the walls. (Model Patient! Perfect attendance!) My life has been defined by a medical number, and my “See how great I’m doing” photos have been snapped in front of a hospital.

Until today.

Yesterday I finished radiation, the last of the Big Three cancer treatments (chemotherapy, surgery and radiation.) Yesterday I was Patient Number X, going for this-test and that-procedure. Today I am Meredith, and I’m not even sure what that means anymore.

So many plans I had at the beginning of 2016 were dashed, so many activities canceled, so many dreams changed and rearranged. My life path is on a road that looks familiar but isn’t the same.

I just have to take one step at a time, without the almost daily medical appointments which served as my ball and chain. One foot in front of another, as I’ve done since this started ten months ago.

I still need chemo infusions every three weeks through next July. I have neuropathy (nerve damage), a side effect of chemo which may or may not be permanent. I can expect to be fatigued for at least two more months.

But today I am Meredith, and somehow that feels like freedom. One step, one step.

Author: MeredithLaskow

Artist, writer, and unrepentant nerd girl.

14 thoughts on “Identity”

  1. Welcome back Meredith. And you returned stronger than ever. The last 2 years that is what my calendar looked like. It gets lots better. Hugs!

    1. Thanks Sharon! When the radiation techs asked what I plan to do for the holidays, now that I don’t have to come in to Kaiser every day, I said, “Stay home.” Not having to go to constant medical appointments seems like such a luxury.

  2. Welcome back to being Meredith. I can imagine it is a liberating feeling! What a wonderful way to start off a new year… your new life…. coming from new perspectives. Welcome back!

    1. Thanks Angelika! The past year, I’ve expended so much energy trying to make it through treatments and getting better, that the rest of me was put on hold. It’ll be good to move away from Perfect Patient and return to being me.

  3. I’m feeling such joy in my heart after reading this…it’s doing cartwheels across the universe! It’s been such a long, impossible road, and yet here you are! And how grateful I am for you being here, and for being Meredith, whoever and all that you find her to be now. Congratulations! Having the freedom to simply stay at home if and when you want to is a huge blessing…enjoy!

    1. Sharon, the image of you cartwheeling through the universe brought a big smile to my face 😀 I’m grateful for you, too — and all my loving friends and family!

  4. Your one step is more like a giant stride ! You have come so far and will continue to walk into freedom from doctors, labs, technitions, tests and hospitals and into your beautiful future! A new year will soon begin followed by many many more years of health, happiness and peace!
    You are a role model of dignity and strength and I love that we are family! Happy New Year, Hapoy Chanukah, Happy Meridith… I celebrate you!!!

    1. Thanks Michaele ♥ My goal is to make it to be a healthy crotchety OLD lady (“old” being at least 15 years older than whatever I am at the moment.) Happy New Year and Happy Chanukah to you! Les has already bought two boxes of latkes (the traditional dry mix, and pre-made frozen spinach ones) so I guess our holiday is planned.

  5. You are now and always have been and always will be our beloved Meredith, no matter what life throws at you. You have come out stronger and will continue to get stronger. You are our role model, Meredith, for strength and grace in a time of sickness and fear. A new year is dawning with new light for you to walk through. I’m grateful to have you as my friend.

    1. Kaye, I’m grateful to have you as my friend too 🙂 It’s hard to wrap my head around “role model,” and humbling. A new year with no new health problems is the best I can hope for, for all of us.

  6. Congratulations for emerging triumphant! I know it has been a difficult year, but your strength, determination and wit has pulled you through. Now it is time to baby yourself and become whole again. Creativity is a great healer. Love and light to you.

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