Breast Cancer blog
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 August, 2014, 6:13pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 August, 2014, 6:14pm

Jitters and jitters

BIO

Amy is a Chinese American journalist - a native New Yorker - and journalism educator currently living in Hong Kong. She was recently diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 37, and hopes to share her experiences and adventures with other women and increase awareness.
 

The sentence “What I did for my summer vacation” surfaced recently as I was tossing and turning in bed.

The summer has been rough waters of juggling a quartet of part-time jobs to feed the rental beast. And oh yes, I’m getting married. Along with the insanity of wedding planning, which frankly felt very much like flying off of the seat of our pants, there are the ongoing arguments and fights with the fiancée about my fixation on discussing my hopes and dreams for the future. No, our future.

The conversation, which feels like stale dinner, goes something like this.

“I love the idea of having a house together and starting a family, what do you think?”

“I can’t say or promise anything on this, we need to be together first. Why can’t we focus on that first and then down the road we’ll see what happens?” There is escalating frustration and exasperation in his voice.

Sheesh. What’s wrong with window shopping or at least entertaining a loved one’s dreams? I am waiting for an answer and a feeling that he doesn’t share. My blood boils and a fight starts. I dub the past season “treading water” and keeping the sharks at bay.

Then there’s the wake-up call. We are now less than one week away from the big day, the wedding.

And yet the checklist of tasks, which long seemed to be done, have not been done. Last minute, there are unexpected cancellations from a dozen or so people. There’s a death in the family, a death amongst friends of friends, a stroke, and a job shift. That’s life and so it goes. There’s the ceremony music that I’ve long been chasing after the fiancée with, and the gifts for guests that had to simply be redone. There’s the first dance that we’ve never practiced, and the song that we decided on last minute.

Planning a wedding in a long distance relationship is an art in itself. We are not singing off of the same song sheets as most other couples. Perhaps by nature we are contrarians.

We have been living two separate lives on two different continents and there’s no end of “togetherness” in sight. My dreams of future escalate with every new Facebook post I see from peers on new babies, new homes and new jobs. Why does everyone on Facebook seem to live a charmed life?

Then there is the reminder that my life isn’t so bad. In fact, it’s good. I am lucky to be alive, for what has been so far a run in good health. Against the landscape of happy faces on Facebook, there is also the reminder of others’ misfortunes. A classmate from grad school, a young man with a young family, suffered a sudden brain hemorrhage triggered by a tumor. He’s hanging on. A friend’s sister, a woman of my vintage with a history of mental illness, has gone missing. Every day there are newly diagnosed women who enter the social networking groups for breast cancer survivors seeking comfort and inspiration.

Against this aura of anxiety is the knowing that this event, this wedding, which we’ve been planning since the start of the year will soon be over. I’ve often thought about it as the long, hot and torturous wait at an amusement park at the peak of summer. You’re in this queue that seems to snake on forever. You dream of sitting on the ride, there is the thrill and chill of imagining what the ride feels like, sometimes you feel like backing out, other times itching to get on. Before you know it you are at the head of the line, your turn next. Too late to back off so you step on, close your eyes, say a prayer, and before you know it it’s over. Just like that, a flash of a memory. Not bad at all.

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Jitters and jitters

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