One year ago today I posted a blog entry that began with the following: "No point in beating around the bush. That colonoscopy yesterday led to a diagnosis of cancer of the rectum."
In the intervening year I have been bombarded with radiation, cut open and mutilated, and poisoned. I don't really know yet whether the cancer is still there or not. I have a PET-CT scan scheduled for September 3 in aid of answering that question. I'm supposed to have a colonoscopy as well, but that hasn't been scheduled yet because of the infection referenced in the last blog post. In fits and starts, the effects of that infection seem to be fading at last, though I still have to be extra-cautious about what I eat, apparently.
In the intervening year I have ranted and screamed and pouted; made strange jokes and indulged in bits of gallows humor; suppressed even more humor that would inevitably, given the nature and location of the cancer and treatment, descended to "bathroom humor" level; been surprised not to wake up with a bag attached to a hole in my side; taken enough Imodium that I should own stock in the company by now; had legs that would not let me rest at all; been unable to leave the house and gone anyway; preached a sermon while totally hopped up on painkillers; and gone through all manner of other health traumas and indignities that I have not described in this blog, and probably will not. You can't handle the truth.
In the intervening year I have staggered through Old Testament as one wandering in the wilderness; practice-baptized a baby; broken bread; been on the giving and receiving end of pastoral care; attended my first classes via video hookup; made the rookie mistake I always warned students against, biting off more subject than I could possibly chew in the given paper assignment; led a worship ritual in a park; gotten to know A Brief Statement of Faith well enough to hack my way through teaching a class on it; preached five times and chanted a psalm in worship, for internship credit; tried and failed to be a polity wonk; become a candidate for ordination; completed three of my four senior ordination exams and have the fourth in progress (results not to be known for a few weeks); and somehow managed not to wash out of seminary.
In the intervening year I have gone to Disney World and walked, very slowly and with lots of stops, "around the world" at Epcot; gone to spring training for the first time since moving out of Florida; gone back to Lawrence for the first time since moving and, to be honest, kinda wished I could've stayed; stood on the edge of the Konza Prairie and let the wind nudge me about like tallgrass; finally taken a bite of the Little Apple; been to the Vietnam memorial in D.C. for the first time in years; been to George Washington's birthplace, James Monroe's birthplace (or the empty spot on the ground where scholars think it is), Thomas Jefferson's famous house, and James Madison's not-so-famous house (but no Civil War sites); been to Flying Squirrels baseball games and Spiders basketball games in Richmond and Nationals baseball games in D.C.; spent a tremendous summer working in the soon-to-be-trendy town of Ashland, VA; gone to three of four weddings in a summer of more-weddings-than-I've-been-to-in-my-married-life-so-far-combined, all for outstanding people, classmates, and friends half my age or less; and somehow managed to stay awake for some of it.
I've been alive, wondered if I was dead, sorta wished I was dead, was glad to be alive, didn't want to get out of bed, couldn't go to sleep, gotten up a dozen times in the middle of the night, and am still here for whatever reason. And here comes another year of it.
So August 24 is going to be one of those days. Diagnosis Day? Your Life Is Now Hell Day? Your Body Is Against You Day? Whatever. I guess I'm still here. And that exegesis exam doesn't give a rip about any of this. So, hopefully some sleep, and hopefully fresh for a new day of whatever the heck this life is.