Since my very first deadline, back around the time Xanadu was born and I was wearing the shit out of barrettes with ribbons attached, I've been a crammer. I get all serious like in the days or hours before the thing is due and spend the rest of the lead up doing something more fun, like looking at the room and seeing it needs sweeping.
I can't really blame this one on my parents, but maybe it has to do with birth order and my two older brothers; getting either "oooh, you'll do very well then!" or "oooh, we better watch out for you", depending on which one of them I mentioned to my teacher at the start of the school year. I needed to strike out on my own - to not be the smart, kind one, or the sporty, sassy one, but to be the one who kept you on your toes, always guessing.
Actually, I've done my own 30-second psychoanalysis on this one. I was terrified that if I put too much work into something and did a mediocre job, that my sense of self would be shattered. If I did everything last minute, and got a decent mark, I could always tell myself that if I'd tried harder, I could've joined the 100% club. Classic fear of failure stuff.
Now I'm in the 6-week run up to my second PET scan on August 27, and I had a moment last week of realizing I was doing the same fucking thing I've done all my life. I was doing most things half measure and planning everything for "after chemo", like I was a normal, healthy person who had all the time in the world to figure this shit out.
Sure, I'm walking almost every day, eating better than I ever have and trying to reduce or rather differently process stress, but in the serious scheme of things and the spirit of wanting to live forever, I'm still dabbling. I'm still often behaving like I've had a first-time, early stage cancer diagnosis or worse, like a woman who switches to almond milk because her girlfriends said it was "sooooo good for your skin."
I have aggressive cancer, and I haven't been aggressive enough.
Last week, the heart test results gave me some control back and on Friday, my lack of real dedication hit me like a big crashing wave. I had Pete beside me on a walk along Turkey Head to reflect my jumbled state and we came across a park bench with a memorial dedication for someone I knew, also born in 1972, who died in a motorcycle crash several years ago. I was humbled.
Since then, I've felt renewed. I've got 6 weeks to study for this PET scan and not only am I already deep into the run-up, I'm ready to get the gears from all of yous for a less-than-stellar outcome. No more cramming.
Also, I look like an androgynous imp these days and those Xanadu barrettes would NOT go with my new faux hawk.