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Fine, it’s situational depression

It’s no secret that this recovery has been way harder than my last two.

And I haven’t posted about it, because frankly it’s way less fun to do that repeatedly when you’re not feeling good. “Hey it’s me again! I still feel like ass! I’ve lost all will to live!”

Not really, you’ll be saying to yourself about now. But kind of really. I just wanted to pull the covers over my head and sleep for two weeks. Seeing pics of people on Facebook doing normal things was painful—not because I wanted to be doing those things, but because I could never picture myself wanting to do any of them EVER AGAIN.

It was the first time in this whole journey where I started to doubt whether I would ever get back to feeling healthy.

“I think I’m depressed,” I told my sister, a social worker. “Maybe you have a bit of situational depression right now, yes,” she replied.

I tried again with my cancer buddy, who happens to be a therapist. “I’m depressed. And I’m pissed about it. It doesn’t suit me.”

“It’s probably some situational depression,” she agreed, echoing my sister.

By the time I spoke with my real therapist, I had a sense of how it would likely go. So I told her that I thought I had been dealing with some situational depression, which she confirmed seemed likely given my current state of health.

But here’s the crazy thing. By the time I had that call, I was over it.

Because the night prior, I had a dream—and it feels like that dream changed everything.

In my dream, I was dipping my feet in Lake Michigan (inexplicably now located right across the street from my office). My “work dad” Ken was floating in an inner tube nearby, keeping watch, and my college friend Karen was a little further off in another. I was keeping my eyes on the lobby, because I had ordered GrubHub, and I didn’t want to miss my delivery.

When I saw the delivery guy arrive, I rushed to collect my order.

Once inside, I saw that my GrubHub had turned into two gorgeous floral arrangements. And then it turned into something else entirely - an arrangement that featured a pair of perfectly white roller skates!

Ken (whose primary role in my life lately seems to be calorie consumption) wanted to know if the food had been included in the bag, but that was the last thing on my mind, I was so tickled and delighted by my new skates! And that someone would bring them to me! I couldn’t wait to put them on.

And then I woke up.

I was still joyous when I shared the dream with my therapist over the phone the following day, and she shared back what she heard: you ordered food/sustenance, to fill your most basic need. It turned into flowers, a sign of support, and then to skates: a symbol of movement and momentum and all the childlike joy that accompanies it.

No wonder I was so excited, I say. As a cancer patient who is still struggling to walk upright, the freedom of roller skates must represent the ultimate recovery! (My voice cracked into tears not halfway through the sentence.)

It’s not the first time I’ve had a dream that showed me my future would be ok. This one was a little less literal, but I’ve decided to value it no less.

Usually, I find I need to feel physically better before emotional improvement begins. This time, I knew immediately that the opposite would happen—and I’ve felt better and better physically ever since. A friend who visited me pre-dream and again a few days later told me I seemed like a different person. I mean, I still have drains hanging from me and spend 2/3 of my time in bed—but I finally believe again that at some point, I’ll recover.

Tomorrow we travel to NY. I am hoping and praying they will remove both drains. I might start chemo as well, depending on whether the drains come out and my surgeon thinks I’m ready. A week ago, I was dreading any and all of it. Now, mostly, I feel ready to go. Ready to recover, ready to heal, ready to get back to real life again.

Ready, set. Go!

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