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Road Trips

I feel discombobulated.

I have begun the process: taken two dulcolax, and mixed gatorade and miralax in a pitcher like it’s lemonade. And now I wait.

This all feels so surreal. I feel well, and yet I’m sick. Tomorrow evening I will feel sick but will be on my way to being well. It doesn’t make any sense.

I have no control.

My family and I didn’t take a lot of vacations growing up, but when we did we always drove. We would load up our minivan before the sun had begun to peer over the horizon. Our suitcases and duffle bags were piled high in the trunk. Snacks and books and games for my sister and I were scattered around our second-row pilot seats, and Dad’s maps were stacked one on top of the other in the front, the path he charted the night before freshly carved in pencil. We rarely stopped, and hotels were usually out of the question, so I turned on my Discman and leaned my head against the pillow, watching as the trees blurred into an emerald haze, the blue sky bleeding into their peaks. Every now and then I would focus. I would try to see clearly what was out there, what we were speeding past. Every now and then I would stop the blur.

It feels like I’m a passenger in a car on an unfamiliar highway with no exits. I’m speeding toward a mountain that keeps getting bigger and bigger, its shadow looming over me, and I don’t exactly see the way through, even though I know it’s there. Last week was normal. I focused on work and family. I paused the blur momentarily. But tomorrow is coming quickly and everything around me is racing by.

I don’t know what recovery will look like, or treatment for that matter. What’s on the other side of this mountain is a mystery. I don’t know how to manage it all, and that is frightening. I will do it, though; I’m certain of that because there is no other choice. My son’s birthday is in nine days. I don’t know how to make sure he will only remember the good bits, but dammit, I refuse to let this get in the way. A friend and coworker reminded me yesterday of the words of Glennan Doyle: I can do hard things. And I just have to exist in that for now.

I do know this: there is a chance that after this surgery is finished, and a portion of my colon is cut from me, my colon might be the size of a normal human’s. If that’s not a silver lining, then I don’t know what is.


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