I was so prepared for bad news about my scan, I didn’t even know how to react when I heard it was clear. It took at least a minute to register. In fact, it’s still sinking in.

Not since the summer of 1994 have I been this pleasantly surprised and flabbergasted by good test results. One day, I answered the phone and it was Mrs. Bergen, my history teacher who called to say that I scored a four (out of four) on the A.P. U.S. History exam. “Four?” I repeated suspiciously. “Are you talking to the right person? This is Josie.” She laughed, and said, “Yes, I know.”

My doctor was happy to deliver the good news. In fact, she thought I’d already known the results so the big reveal was a little anti-climactic. I hadn’t thought to ask the nurse, who came in first to ask me some questions. I’m not sure why. I wasn’t thinking clearly and I didn’t know if she was allowed to tell me. She seemed cheerful, but she’s always a lot of fun to talk to. When she talked to me about getting re-vaccinated the next time I come in, I thought the news might be good, but still, I didn’t ask. (Since I have a new immune system, I have to get all my vaccines again.) After she left the room, my boyfriend mentioned that she wouldn’t be talking about vaccines if my scan hadn’t been clear. I was so terrified to allow myself false hope, I still didn’t ask.

When the doctor came in, she said something about the clear scan, because she thought I’d already known the results. I could have looked online, but I didn’t want to misinterpret the results, especially because I have that troublesome weird spot.

As for the mystery blob that shows up on the scans, it’s gotten smaller. So it’s not cancer, but it’s still not clear what it is. My boyfriend thinks it’s bottled up anger that’s dissipating. He compared it to the part in How the Grinch Stole Christmas, when the Grinch’s (spoiler alert) heart grows three sizes, but instead, the ball of anger that resides in my pancreas is shrinking. I have noticeably less ire.

I do have some radiation-related inflammation in my lungs, but the doctor says it’s even less than she would have expected. As she flipped through the scans on the computer to show me the results, I was still in a state of shock.

I also learned that I might be the only person who wears my MedAlert bracelet that I was told to order when I left the hospital. If I ever need a transfusion, it’s to make sure I get irradiated blood. I asked my doctor how long I have to wear the bracelet, and she said that no one had ever asked her that or mentioned the MedAlert gear. My boyfriend, who loves to interject information while I’m at the doctor’s office, piped up that I’m a goodie-goodie. This is true. It didn’t even occur to me not to do as I was told. I was given a MedAlert order form that was already partially filled out when I was discharged after my transplant and I thought it was mandatory. Also, my friend who analyzes blood gave me a really good explanation of why I need irradiated blood.

The answer to my question about wearing the bracelet is, as it turns out, for the rest of my life, unless I get a wallet card or something. The rest of my life is now a big, exciting thing instead of a question mark. Sure, I know that the cancer can come back. I’ll always have that little question mark in the back of my head. (Or, I suppose, in my pancreas.) But I’ve been given the gift of another six months, at least—possibly a lifetime—of not having cancer. I’m really on the other side of this thing. When I think about it, I sometimes get lightheaded. My life has been on pause, and I can resume it.

When I look back at the past few years, what upset me wasn’t the actual treatment. The chemo, the IVs, the hospital stays, the phebitis—these were tough. But the worst part was having to put my life on hold.

We can’t plan, really, for the future. I don’t know what it holds for me. In fact, after my scan results, I was certain I would be struck by a bus or hit on the head by a falling anvil (the kind that reside in the sky to unfairly take people out who have just received good news). My cynicism has returned. But I can actually move forward right now. I can think in the long term, like everyone else. Yesterday, I thought of vacations. I can go to the beach with my boyfriend’s family. I can plan to go to Europe and meet my best friend’s baby, who was born while I was going through chemo and is now a toddler. It’s as if my life has been in the hands of cancer and I’m finally being given back the controls. It’s wildly exhilarating.

I could steal a police car and drive down to D.C. for a friend’s birthday party, but I think the police work stoppage is over. And I am a goodie-goodie. And I hate driving. So there you have it. The craziest thing I did yesterday was at The Vaselines show we went to in the evening. One of the band members, Frances, was at the merch table and I bought a T-shirt and wore it right then. At the show! That’s a big concert faux-pas. You can’t wear the shirt of the band you’re seeing at the show. But after I bought the shirt, I said, “I’m going to wear it.” And Frances said, “You should!” So I did. That’s about as crazy as I get these days.

I didn’t complete my bucket list yesterday. The free pizza place was too crowded, and after the doctor’s appointment, we were too hungry to make the detour to Roosevelt Island. We went to lunch in our neighborhood and ordered an antipasti plate. The man dining next to us happened to be looking at me, of course, as a piece of prosciutto fell from my fork. I felt his eyes upon me as I looked down at my lap puzzled and didn’t see my renegade ham. I then saw his gaze fall to the floor, where the proscuitto lay. I picked it up and put it to the side on my plate, vaguely embarrassed.

I thought that maybe after cancer, I would be different somehow. Braver. Maybe not as shy. But I’m still essentially the same. When I was back in Cleveland for the holidays, I went to the old Metroparks area where I had spent so much time as a teenager with my friends. I hadn’t realized how lucky I’d been growing up a few minutes away from such a beautiful spot. I hadn’t been much in the winter, and it was particularly lovely with a dusting of snow. Being there with my boyfriend was meaningful—I hadn’t realized I’d never visited the park with him. A friend’s memorial bench sits in the park. I’d always felt guilty somehow for losing touch with him before he died. You always think there will be more time. But as I had time to reflect on mortality this past year, I wouldn’t resent people I lost touch with. In the end, I would value them as much as part of my life, even if it were in the past. People had time to reach out to me, since my situation was years long. I put my guilt to rest that day and smiled at the inscription that’s serious but funny at the same time, as I remember he was. It says he “came here…a lot.”

A lot of things clicked into place during that cold walk, being in a spot where I’d spent so much time as a teen, dreaming how my life would be. I had meant to write it down in a blog, but time got away from me. That’s one thing that I’ve promised my boyfriend I would do if I got a good scan—work less and do fewer 12-hour days and make time for fun.

I’m sure this experience has changed me in some way, but I’m still figuring out how. I still do things like drop ham into my lap at nice restaurants.

After lunch, I celebrated with a nap that spanned the entire afternoon to make up for the previous week’s restless nights. I feel as if I’d been holding my breath for the past few weeks and that I can finally breathe.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in oneself in general, but especially when you’re dealing with cancer. While feeling especially supported by those around you, you’re also really alone. I tried to wrap up all my anxiety within myself, but when I made my announcement that my scan was clear and got responses, I didn’t realize how many people were holding their breath with me. It’s as if Friday’s gusts of wind that swept down the streets of Manhattan on my way to the train after receiving the good news was just the collective sigh of everyone I knew.

Before I left the doctor’s office, I called my mom. Her palpable happiness has one of the best things I’ve ever heard. My boyfriend’s mom, my friend’s mom—does anyone feel things as deeply as mothers do?—sent happy missives, cried, did joyful dances. My boyfriend gave me a big, relieved hug after the news. Friends sent me messages. I had somehow forgotten how much my own story affects others, after two years of people telling me how much they cared about me.

That’s the good thing that came out of all of this. As I’ve said before, I’m not one of those people who thinks things happen for a reason. But I do think you can learn from what happens. During my post-cancer depression, I really hit some lows. Everyone was so happy for me, yet I couldn’t join them. Now I can. I’m finally ready to start celebrating—and living—again, on my own terms.

Goodbye cancer. Finally. Maybe we will meet again. I hope not.

The other day, as we ate dinner, my boyfriend finally asked me, “What are you doing?”

I was sitting at our dining room table with my hands under my armpits, Molly-Shannon-as-Mary-Katherine-Gallagher-style. “I’m feeling my lymph nodes,” I replied. It was then requested that I refrain from doing so at the dinner table.

Truthfully, I don’t know what my lymph nodes are supposed to feel like, but I’ve been checking in on them a lot lately. I feel under my ears and press on my upper chest, where the troublesome bump showed up two years ago. Tomorrow I get the results from my second post auto-transplant scan.

In December, I felt little pangs and twinges that went away. They’ve been back lately—a pang here and a twinge there—but they’ve been especially bad this past week.

On the bright side, sometimes scan anxiety or “scanxiety” brings on phantom pains. I have had so many pains leading up to the big cancer-or-not reveal, when I am optimistic, I think that they have to be brought on by my imagination. I may have cancer of the tricep and the ankle, if I am to believe the pains.

That’s when I’m being optimistic, which isn’t all that often. I’m more terrified now than I’ve ever been. If there was a bright spot to having refractory Hodgkin’s lymphoma, instead of relapsed, it’s that I never received the news that the cancer went away. It was present for every single scan, stubbornly refusing to leave. I never had a celebration or the chance to breathe a sigh of relief. For a year and a half, it was always cancer, still cancer, still cancer and finally a big question mark.

The question mark is how things ended in July, after my last scan. There was still a spot near my pancreas that continued to light up after chemo, radiation and the stem cell transplant. The doctor didn’t think it was still cancer, and he told me not to worry about it. And I haven’t, for the most part. Until now.

I haven’t really celebrated remission, because I’ve been uncertain if I have anything to celebrate, and I had a lot of recovering to do after the transplant. Once I recovered, I felt weird and depressed for months. Now I’m pretty much back to normal—or as normal as I get—and now I’m certain that this must mean the cancer will return to pull the rug out from under me again. (That’s probably a good sign at least for my mental state. It seems my outlook on life has once again returned to that of a wary cynic.)

I want more time being well. Now that I’ve had a taste of it, I don’t want to go back. When I went in last week for my PET scan, returning to the hospital and having the IV put in again reminded me of that year-and-a-half. It was just eight months ago when I lived at the hospital, full-time, and I’d nearly forgotten it. The scans, the IVs, the tests—everything seems blurry and dream-like now. (Well, some of it was blurred by morphine.)

I don’t want to go back.

During that time, I felt as if I had to shut off a part of myself to deal with it. Now, I feel as if I’m finally coming back to life. Still, I feel like I can’t plan. Someone asked me today if I had a vacation planned in the spring. Not until I get my scan results.

Everything is on hold until tomorrow, yet I also don’t want to know what tomorrow brings. I would rather stay suspended here in ignorance, even as I torment myself. Is this my last meal before knowing I have cancer again? Is this the last evening I have before knowing I have cancer again? 

I’ve been making deals with myself, the kinds of weird superstitions you count on when you have no control over what’s going to happen. If I stay in this yoga pose the whole time, I won’t have cancer. If I make it to the corner before the light changes, I won’t have cancer. My head is a weird place right now.

The very best news I expect tomorrow is that only the weird spot has grown and they’ll want to take a look. Whatever has been going on, the random pains in the spot area seem to be real. And then what? What if it’s something worse? What if, what if, what if.

Regardless of the news, I decided to do something fun to take my mind off any bad news if there is any. I wouldn’t say I have a bucket list so much as a few things I’ve been meaning to do. One of them is to take the tram to Roosevelt Island, and the other is to go to a restaurant in my neighborhood that offers a free mini-pizza with a beer. (Free pizza! My ambitions are low, but delicious and affordable.) No matter what, by this time tomorrow, I will at least have accomplished my life’s more attainable goals. Not having cancer is the main one, but that is not within my control.

The other day, if you’d passed the intersection near my street, you would have found me standing in the road, middle fingers raised at a car trying to run the red light and run me over.

No one would ever say I’m a delicate flower.

Someone did see this, and, as he crossed the footbridge, he comforted me with, “They’ll get theirs someday.”

I wish I could be that calm. My mom, too, has recently comforted me with assurances that everything works out. I used to believe that, but I’m struggling.

I have a hard time dealing with injustice and, despite my occasional street rantings, I’m really very sensitive. In this unfair, harsh world, you can imagine how things work out for me. I took that Briggs-Myers psychology test, and I’m an INFP (Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceptive). I’m sure there are successful people out there with this personality designation, but they’re mostly tortured artist types. I have no artistic talent—no sonnets to write, no brilliant novel within, no symphony to compose, no masterpiece to create. I don’t have the creative genius to excuse being bad at important aspects of life.

I don’t want to focus on the negative. I did realize during my treatment and with subsequent friend visits that I have a lot of amazing people who care about me, so I must be doing something right. But day-to-day existence has always been hard for me. Balancing finances and dealing with bureaucracy can easily lead me into the depths of despair.

I recently read something about how cancer patients often experience anxiety over their changing physical appearance. The baldness didn’t bother me that much. Partially, I think this is because I used to try to stand out, so looking like a freak is old hat. But I also realized, now that my hair has grown in—not to mention my eyelashes and eyebrows—that in a perverse way, I didn’t mind looking the part of a cancer patient, because I had hoped people would be nicer to me.

In the same way that looking weird and dressing in all black told people to stay away, in hopes they wouldn’t bully or be mean to me, I felt the same comfort with my bald head for all to see. It was like wearing a sign that pleaded, Please be nice to me. I have cancer.

And for the most part, people had been. But lately, I’ve had several disappointing experiences where it felt like people were being only temporarily nice to me, because I had cancer—and then they made a mental note to mistreat me at a later date. It’s been like I’ve been on the receiving end of rain checks for unkindness. It’s been made clear to me that in some cases, no matter what people say, it’s all about the bottom line.

I knew this day would come, when people would stop feeling obligated to be nice to me. I don’t expect special treatment. I worked through cancer and never wanted to use it as an excuse to be lazy or to be a jerk. I just want people to be decent.

As a kid, I was bullied. I was chubby and had no friends for several years. I was the weird, overweight, pimply girl with glasses who wore funny dresses. There are lots of movie and book characters based on this girl, so you can imagine how it went for me. Some people say I’m pessimistic, but I just prepare myself for the bad in people.

I wonder why it is that we always focus on the bad things we hear about ourselves. I’ve probably forgotten beautiful moments throughout my life but will always remember the group of girls a year younger than me who tormented me on the playground almost every day. Billy Ocean’s “Get Into My Car” was popular at the time, and one day the girls came up and sang, “Get into my car—if you can fit!” I’ll always remember that.

In eighth grade, I was at the mirror putting on makeup and some other girls wanted to use the mirror. “Why is she using the mirror?” one girl hissed to another. “She’s a loser.” They wanted me to hear. So now I remember. I still remember their names. Not long after that, I realized there wasn’t any point in wearing makeup, so I stopped for more than a decade. I wore black. I didn’t weigh much. I wanted to disappear, so people just wouldn’t be mean to me.

I guess I should have developed a thick skin, but I feel as if it’s still paper-thin. I’m back to wanting to evaporate. I feel like that bullied kid again, but instead, these discouraging words are from an unlikely source—myself.

During my beautiful, perfect vacation, the bartender at a Long Island brewery criticized our tip of $4.80 (on $24, on a credit card). “Who does that?” she said to her friend next to us. “Why didn’t they just leave me $4?” Her offhand comment ruined a good portion of my day, even though she didn’t mean to. I wrestled with melodramatic thoughts. Why did I bother to get through everything only to let this stuff hurt me so much? In some ways, it felt worse that she didn’t know I was the “bad” tipper. I wondered what every person ever has said behind my back until it was so much that it exploded within and dissipated, and I couldn’t even be sad anymore.

I hate it about myself that I’ll forget some aspects of my perfect friend-and-family-filled week but I’ll remember that.

I’ve been wrestling with a lot of self-loathing, especially with recent events. Am I really incompetent or cheap? I think I may have survivor’s guilt to some extent. When something small happens, I think, Why me? Why did I survive cancer and not somebody who has a job? Why doesn’t somebody with kids survive? Sometimes I feel like it’s unfair that I’m in remission. I feel like I don’t deserve it, and as I said before, I hate unfairness. When I’m exposed to life’s tiniest bumps, I now feel terribly hurt, then ungrateful, and then I just shovel all that into the self-loathing machine chugs along next to me almost all the time these days, waiting for me to feed it.

I know that, today of all days, my problems are trivial. I have to re-learn how to live in a cruel, unfair world. (Boo-hoo, I say to myself. Get it together.) For my part, I’m going to try to be kinder to people, because I know how much the alternative can hurt. (Unless they run red lights near my street.)

Recently, I have been explaining to people that I waited so long for the light at the end of the tunnel and now I feel like I’m standing at the end, blinking, unsure of how to live on the outside. Sometimes, on days like today, I want to crawl back in. But I know I have to move forward, even if the real world’s sun is so bright that it burns my thin skin.

Photo note: This is a photo of a fish from my vacation.

I felt a wave of optimism yesterday as I left my apartment to go grocery shopping—mostly about the weather, which seemed to have shifted from a ceiling of gray, ominous clouds to blue skies dotted with puffy clouds. I put on my new lion espadrilles that aren’t supposed to get wet and set out, noticing along the way the old Poland Springs plastic water bottle half-full of urine I’d seen a few weeks ago. I wasn’t sure if this was a good sign or not.

The urine bottle, oddly, made me think about how much I’d miss New York if I left. Everyone seems to be leaving or talking about leaving these days, in light of how expensive it’s getting to live here. I looked up an apartment I saw for sale in my neighborhood, just for fun, and it cost a million dollars. I’m not using that as an exaggeration, like when I talk about how much a pint of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream costs here. This apartment really cost a million dollars. For that price, area urine should be discarded in Voss bottles.

This is one of the only places I feel really comfortable. I enjoy the balance here. For every bottle of urine, there’s something beautiful and unexpected. For every time there’s the smell of rotting garbage or urine (unbottled, I presume), there’s a linden or chocolate cake breeze. And vice-versa. I find it oddly comforting.

Halfway to the store, I felt several drops of rain and looked up to see a lone gray cloud above, making a few half-hearted attempts to rain only on me, as if I were an unlucky comic strip character. It seemed like a physical embodiment of my recent post-cancer depression—sun and beauty all around, and a small, plaguing sadness trying to descend upon me.

If it started to really rain, I thought about ducking into a store that sold shoes suitable for rain if I came across one. I wasn’t too upset about the threat of a small shower—I’d figure out what to do about my shoes.

In fact, a good percentage of my clothing is bought out of necessity—rain jackets, hoodies, comfortable shoes. I consider weather for which I’m inappropriately dressed a cosmic sign to buy necessities I’m loathe to purchase. I couldn’t control the weather, so I’d make do.

I usually think of myself as pretty easy-going, not a control freak. But recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about control, and lack thereof.

Tuesday, amid the flurry of news feed posts about Robin Williams’ suicide (which also got me thinking about control, but so much has been said on this subject, I’m just going to let the man rest in peace), another story caught my eye. New York Magazine posted a link to a story called “Avoiding the Breast Cancer ‘Warrior’ Trap” by Peter Bach, the doctor who months ago wrote an honest, poignant piece about losing his wife to cancer. It was teased with, “Let’s get real: Cancer doesn’t really make you stronger.”

In the column, Bach talks about being at a Gilda’s Club luncheon, where Good Morning America anchor Amy Robach spoke about her recent breast cancer screening and treatment. In his opinion, she oversimplified two complicated, controversial issues: the mammogram effectiveness debate and her decision to have a double mastectomy. I’m going to leave those topics to the doctor and the breast cancer community.

What struck me was that Bach was troubled by Robach’s assertion: “I kicked cancer’s ass.” Labeling people who end up in remission from cancer as warriors, Bach argues, negates those who die from the disease.

It’s not the first time this has been brought up. In Pink Ribbons, Inc., a documentary about the corporatizing of breast cancer, the filmmakers talk to women with Stage IV breast cancer about how the “survivor” label implies that those who don’t make it didn’t fight hard enough.

I’m not sure how I personally feel about the survivor label. You have definitely gone through something and survived. I feel as if I’m in the middle as someone with refractory Hodgkin’s lymphoma. I survived…for now.

I think the more nuanced point that Bach makes is that there’s an erroneous implication that surviving cancer is based on how hard you fight, that you can somehow control the outcome more than you can.

I would agree with him there. People fight very hard and still lose. In the case of relapsed and refractory Hodgkin’s lymphoma, you emerge from battle only to discover you didn’t win the war and have more fights ahead.

Cancer is extremely unfair. In that aspect, I think the war/battle analogy is accurate. Do we say that those who don’t survive are any less brave?

If there’s a battle comparison to be made, a friend who read my last blog about post-cancer depression said that since I’d been fighting cancer for so long, my depression was like the emptiness of missing battle.

It’s true. Instead of a proud returning war hero, I feel more like the soldier in The Hurt Locker, disconnected with a day-to-day routine, unsure of how to live in the world.

A few phone calls to the department of labor turned me into a quivering mess of emotion and despair, though I suppose dealing with bureaucracy has always turned me into a sad Kafka-esque figure, pained by the absurdity of human existence. Even a glance at a tax form or a health insurance explanation of benefits quickly sends me to the depths of existential despair.

I feel as if in the last year and a half, I’ve lost control over too many things. I swing from struggling for control to recoiling from taking it back. I don’t roll as easily with the punches.

I think that the idea of being a “cancer warrior” is a label that’s meant to be helpful and empowering, but it also can add unnecessary pressure when you’ve been shown just how vulnerable you can be. I think people are looking for control, when so often in the case of cancer, there’s frighteningly little of it. Your own body has tried to kill you. Is the illusion of control helpful or harmful?

Everyone deals with things differently. I’m sure some people feel invincible after cancer, and I don’t begrudge them. I only envy them. I thought maybe once I’d faced cancer, I would feel braver, but if anything, I’ve felt more unsure of myself lately. I’ve been struggling to re-acquaint myself with living in a world I’ve always had trouble fitting into to begin with.

My boyfriend asked why, when I complained about having so much to do, I prioritized working out. I do want to get stronger and do activities to maintain a healthy heart and lungs that put up with a lot of potentially damaging treatment. But the underlying reason is there: The need for some control, even if it’s misguided. It’s been a way of trying to re-assert some control over my traitorous body, a way to say, “I’m still in charge of some things around here.”

I’m not sure if I agree that cancer doesn’t make you emotionally and mentally stronger in some ways. Though now I feel weakened, I hope I’ll show some strength in the long run.

I’m not sure that I feel proud to have survived cancer (for now). Just relieved and still shaken.

In this life, we have such little control over some things, like cancer or the weather, and also a terrifying—often daunting—amount over how we react to the things we can’t control. As I flail and falter, I hope to find my balance once again.

Photo note: The wise cat knows not to take my espadrilles in the rain and wears them only indoors.

Yes, there’s still that pesky question mark in the shape of the spot that’s still lighting up on my PET scan. But the doctor yesterday said that it’s “all good news.” Everything else is gone and the blood clot in my lung has also dissipated.

As for the spot, the doctor doesn’t seem to think it’s Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It could be a benign tumor. If it doesn’t grow, then they’re not going to worry about it. For the next three to six months until my next scan, it’s back to normal.

Why am I not dancing in the streets? Well, if you’ve ever seen me dance, you’d consider it good judgment. (I seriously considered signing up for a recent Elaine Benes dance contest at a Brooklyn Cyclones game.)

Also, my joints are still a little achey, something that the doctors say should be getting better soon. Apparently, it’s pretty common to have joint pain after a stem cell transplant because of the rapid muscle loss. I’m supposed to continue building strength, so my run up the steps featured in the famous Rocky scenes while in Philadelphia this weekend should prove to be therapeutic.

I should be using more exclamation points. I’m among those who overuse exclamation points to sound enthusiastic or friendly.

I feel oddly deflated. I have been buoying myself up in the face of disappointing news through all of this, and now that I may no longer need to do so, I find myself inexplicably sinking.

I’m fairly certain I have a finite amount of optimism. My boyfriend says I’m a pessimist, but I just like to prepare myself. Just last week, I pointed out that when I came across a bottle of urine under the footbridge near our apartment, I described it as half-full. If that’s not optimism, I don’t know what is.

I’m having a hard time accepting these next six months as a gift where I don’t have to worry. I feel as if I should keep my guard up. I’m afraid to get too comfortable with a (possibly) cancer-free life, only to have it possibly taken away again. I realize that’s silly.

Yesterday I did a quick five minutes of internet research and found that depression after a stem cell transplant isn’t uncommon, even if the results are good. It’s not as if I’m incapable of happiness, but I just feel a little adrift.

Since I started this journey back in February 2013, I lost my full-time job and have been freelancing, which is always laced with uncertainty. For some reason, taking on new projects after the transplant has filled me with crippling self-doubt. Assignments that I would have been able to breeze through have taken longer. I feel constantly overwhelmed and stressed out no matter how much (or little) I have to do.

The thing about depression is that it sometimes creeps up on you just when you think you should feel happy. Then you wonder what’s wrong with you and you feel worse. People try to cheer you up, and you feel even worse for bringing worry to those you care about.

So please don’t worry. I’m OK. I think. Just like the doctors are keeping an eye on the PET scan spot, I’m going to make sure this is just a passing case of the blues and not something that gets bigger and more troublesome. I have plenty of things to look forward to in the coming months—a trip to see family, friends in town, Sharknado 2.

It’s time to get my bearings and figure out where to go from here. Soon my exclamation points will return.

Before I even got the PET scan results, I felt as if I knew what they would be: No change. I still have a spot that lights up.

That’s pretty much all I know. It’s not any bigger, but it doesn’t seem to be any smaller.

The best-case scenario is that it’s not still cancer, and that if it’s not cancer, it’s nothing serious.

I’m meeting with my doctor on Monday to discuss options. When I spoke to him a few visits ago, he seemed to think that if the scan showed that the spot was the same size, we would wait and keep an eye on it.

Even if the scan had showed nothing, I’d still be suspicious that the cancer was waiting to sneak back up on me. Yet though this was expected, I’m a little sad. Mostly, I don’t know how to feel, because I don’t know what this PET scan means.

More conclusively, a CT scan showed that the blood clot in my lung is gone. That’s a good thing, because they had to use a big needle for that test, and since I’m out of veins, the nurse said it would hurt. It did. And then they had to put in a bigger gauge. That hurt too. Also, they did the injection slower so it would hurt me less, but it still felt like my arm was being crushed from the inside. It wasn’t horrible, just unpleasant and weird. I felt like my bloody bandage made me look tough on the train, though.

Uncharacteristically, I don’t have much to say at all. I kind of don’t want to talk about the results, because I’m not even going to venture a guess at what they mean.

Also, I’m supposed to be writing about Greece right now, and I’m behind on my deadlines and work.

So for now, I’m just going to keep putting one foot in front of the other to see what’s going to happen next. If I don’t answer emails or inquiries, don’t worry. As always, I’m just scrambling to do as much as possible in this interim of relative wellness.

In my mind, the spot on the scan is shaped like a question mark. I wish it were like a game of Operation where someone could go in and remove it.

I don’t really notice the passing of time much. I somehow lost the month I was in the hospital, so I keep thinking that it’s May, not June. Summer caught me by surprise.

The recent flurry of graduation photos posted by friends on social media also caught me off-guard. My friends’ kids posed for kindergarten, middle school and even high school graduation pictures.

Then someone asked about my 20-year high school reunion next year. Didn’t I just attend the 10-year reunion? Didn’t I just graduate?

Everything feels like it happened not that long ago.

Part of this is because I have a good memory, or so I’m told. It’s not that I’m particularly good about recalling useful information like trivia answers, deadlines or where I put my phone. It only seems as if I have a good memory, because I can recall events, stories and random bits of information from years ago—a conversation I had with someone in third grade about my Shamu eraser or the night an intoxicated man pulled his classic car into the parking lot where some high school friends and I were hanging out and tried to convince us to drive him home.

It’s sometimes a bit lonely when you’re the only one who remembers something, especially when you’re speaking to someone who is part of your old story. “Really? I don’t remember that,” the other person will say, slightly suspicious.

I try not to respond with the details that I remember, because it makes me sound creepy. But I sometimes find myself saying things like, “Yes, you were wearing your blue Converse for the first time and eating Twizzlers. It was the day before our biology final. Are you sure you don’t remember this?”

I’ve never had a firm grasp of time. Anyone who’s ever waited for me could tell you that. My boyfriend says I have no concept of time—usually while he’s exasperated, standing by our apartment door, waiting for me.

My poor mother used to arrive to places early before my own arrival—an entire month before I was due. She says my birth was the first and last time I was ever early for anything.

Now that I’m older, I am more punctual, but I tend to arrive right on time, never early. I hate waiting. And yes, I feel terrible about making people wait for me, but that’s mostly in the past.

Lately, I’ve been more acutely aware of time, because the past year and a half has been mostly full of waiting. I waited six months for the ABVD chemo to be over, three months for the clinical trial to finish, and a month or so for two rounds of ICE chemotherapy to pass and the weeks it took to complete the stem cell collection. The month in the hospital went by fairly quickly, save for the final week, but sometimes I would look at the clock in my room and watch the seconds pass.

Now, I’m waiting until mid August for my immune system to recover from the stem cell transplant enough to resume some sort of normal. Of course, I also wait for the scan, which could mean more cancer and waiting. After I recover from the transplant, if I get clear scans, I’d like to stretch the time out in between them while I enjoy myself because I’m terrified the cancer will come back, especially since it’s been so reluctant to leave.

For the first time since I was a kid, I’ve wanted time to pass quickly. The good news for me is that when you’re a child, a year seems like an eternity, whereas time seems to accelerate the older you get. My boyfriend says that time seems to speed up because the years become smaller percentages of your life. When you’re 5, a year is one-fifth of your life, but by the time you’re in your mid-30s, a year goes by pretty fast.

My tenuous grasp on time seemed to have loosened even more now that it’s sped up. This makes some people feel old, but I don’t really ever feel old. I’m just amazed that so much time has passed—without feeling as if I’ve aged very much.

I suspect I might just be immature. When there’s a serious situation, I still feel like I need to find an adult, before I remember that I am one. (That doesn’t stop me from looking for another, more responsible adult to handle the situation.)

Aside from the assumption that I might be mature enough to handle important things, I don’t mind getting older, really. I’m still years away from the aches and pains of old age. The only other main downside is that I’m wise enough to be embarrassed of my younger self. I probably can cringe at the person I was yesterday. I know the wisdom that comes with age is hard-won, but I could do without the flash of wince-worthy moments from my past—like worrying I was old at 23 or 25.

I graduated from college just shy of my 21st birthday, so as an employed college graduate, I felt old before my time hanging out with my friends who were still in college or on campus. (I wasn’t a huge fan of the whole collegiate thing anyway, so I was happy to be out of school as fast as I could.)

In my 20s, I worried about getting old. I checked for wrinkles. I actually haven’t worried about getting old since I turned 28. Turning 28 really bothered me. While other people balk at milestone birthdays like 30 or 40 or 50, turning 28 made me inexplicably sad. I saw it as some turning point—I was no longer a kid. I’d have to get it together. At that point in my life, I had a career and a house, but I mourned the loss of my youth. I thought I should feel more mature.

A lot of rock stars die at 27. It seems to be a cut-off point for either being forever young (and, unfortunately, dead) or going on with the rest of your life and growing up.

Since my 28th birthday, I’ve never felt old. I’m glad I experienced the Smurfs, telephones with cords, black-and-orange-screen computers before the internet, the ’90s (giant coffee cups, grunge, etc.). I still miss VCRs and I sometimes try to rewind DVDs like they’re VHS tapes. When I see those lists about what “kids these days” won’t know, I don’t feel old; I’m just happy to experience the time that I did.

I also live in a blissful lack of self-awareness when it comes to knowing what’s cool. When I stop doing something, I assume it’s not cool anymore. For example, I assume people don’t go to clubs anymore, because I don’t.

I’m also surprised when other people see me as older. A few years ago, I took a bus back to Ohio, and during a rest stop break, a man came up to me while I was in line and said, “Young lady, you dropped your smile.” I’d forgotten how friendly Midwesterners can be.

Smiling, I got back on the bus, and a college student asked to use my phone. She called her mom. I overheard her say that she borrowed a phone from “a nice lady.”

Lady? It took on a different meaning than it had only minutes earlier. I nearly interrupted her and said, “I think you mean young lady.”

Since I got all the feeling old part of my life over in my 20s, with no other approaching birthdays bother me, it’s been smooth sailing. I love celebrating my birthday. In a way, I see it as a celebration of youth. After all, I’ll never be any younger than I am on that day. The numbers are just going to keep going up.

My upcoming birthdays are going to be even better, as I hope to celebrate many more to come. National Cancer Survivors Day was last week. I still don’t consider myself a cancer survivor, since I’m not sure if the stem cell transplant got me into remission. I read recently that by 2024, there will be almost 19 million cancer survivors. I hope to be among them. I look forward to the opportunity to get old, and maybe even becoming a nice old lady.

Something strange has happened since my hospital stay and stem cell transplant. My ire is gone.

I just wanted the cancer gone, but the radiation or the four days of chemo seems to have removed some residual anger. I’ve wondered before if the stubborn spots lighting up on my PET scans were angry words that I swallowed and lodged in my trachea or the molten glow of my temper in my gut.

I joke that Seinfeld’s Frank Costanza is my spirit animal, because when I try to calm down, it’s basically as effective as angrily shouting, “Serenity now!”

Part of my lessened anger, I realize, is because I haven’t been around people. I’ve been pretty isolated at home and at the hospital, where everyone was unfailingly nice to me. I know a few train rides will raise my blood pressure. But I feel as if I’m experiencing something more long-lasting than the peace of isolation. (As isolated as one can be in such close proximity to 10 million other people.)

I have a legendary hold on my grudges. My mental nemesis list is long and spans my lifetime. It includes Prince and the supposed friend who told my second-grade crush that I liked him. In the latter case, it’s not fair, because her last name rhymed with the word “beaver” and, unfortunately, she was bucktoothed, but I never made fun of her like the other second-graders. Why would she betray my confidence and scar me so I wouldn’t reveal my crushes to anyone again until I was 14 and started dating? I can picture her triumphant, toothy grin after her big reveal.

I still feel a flush of humiliation thinking about that day. (I think the guy in question transferred schools the next year—not because of me—and I saw him as a freshman at Ohio University during my brief time there before I transferred—not because of him. But I still felt embarrassed when I saw him a decade later.)

As you can probably tell, I take things pretty hard. I joke about it, but often I can think about an instance where I felt wrong or hurt and feel just as angry or upset as when it actually happened. It’s something I don’t like about myself. Also, it was no fun to feel those things the first time, let alone again. And again. And again.

That’s not to say I don’t get over things or that I don’t forgive people. True, it’s pretty easy to get on my nemesis list, and it’s pretty hard to be removed. It might involve a jar full of the offender’s remorseful tears. Or, more often, a simple, “Sorry.”

But how do you forgive someone who never asks for forgiveness? Or—even harder—how do you forgive someone who truly believes the way he or she treated you was justified? That’s so hard. For me, bearer of grudges, it’s almost impossible. I’m still working on it.

I may never be able to look my second-grade crush in the eye should I ever see him again, but I forgave that girl a long time ago. Yet that day in second grade was probably the first time I was blindsided by someone who I thought was a friend suddenly and inexplicably turning on me. It happened again when I was 20. And 22. And 24. And 31. And 32. Probably some times in between all those too. I guess I don’t learn.

If you think I haven’t worried that I’m the problem, don’t worry—I’ve given it plenty of thought and therapy sessions. At one point in my 20s, someone who I would say was truly malicious drove a wedge between me and some other friends. She was so skilled at it, and I felt so raw and hurt and vulnerable. I let other people make me feel as if I were a bad person and if I were crazy. Looking back, I can say that’s crazy.

Luckily, I had other friends who reassured me that I wasn’t insane or a terrible person. But I was pretty broken. I even went to therapy for a while to put the pieces of myself back together—and reassemble myself as a more confident person. In a way, that girl did me a favor.

I realized a lot of those people who hurt me were insecure about themselves and tore me down in an attempt to feel better. I have my own insecurities—less after this cancer battle—but I certainly have had plenty over the years. When I recognized insecurity in others, I saw a kinship with the hope we could boost each other up. Everyone’s insecure about something. But when it’s someone looking to belittle someone else—well, I might as well have a big target on my back.

Yet it’s so hard when someone you trust tells you something she believes to be true about you to not take it personally—even when you realize, on some level, the situation is really about her (or him).

I’m pretty gullible at times. It’s dangerous when someone I trust tells me something terrible about me that isn’t true.

I obviously tend to dwell. The other day, though, I found myself reflecting—not dwelling—on some past relationships with family and friends. It felt different to reflect. I thought about things without the anger.

I was really thinking about wasted time. Since the things I can do post-transplant are still very limited and I’ve been limited to varying degrees for almost a year-and-a-half, I reminisced about being well—but I also remembered feeling terrible at times. Mostly, this was because I was dwelling on a past hurt or wrong, making it last much longer than it had to. In some cases, instead of letting myself heal from someone’s words, I picked at it, like a scab, until it became a giant wound.

I regretted the time I’d lost to feeling bad about myself. Wasted time wasn’t any time spent with friends. Or moments spent rubbing the belly of a cat when I had other things to do. It was time I’d stolen from myself. Now that cancer—something that both is and isn’t me—has stolen time, I’m more protective of it.

Poet, author and activist Maya Angelou died today, and the Internet was peppered with her words of wisdom. I read a long quote about forgiveness, and Angelou certainly had a lot to forgive (and a lot to say on the subject). One of her well-known quotes: “It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody.”

I’m not going to forgive people for them. I’m going to do it for me.

It’s still really hard, even with less ire.

Could this be a good side effect of the chemo? With so much poison coursing through your veins, there’s no room for additional poisonous thoughts and feelings? Could I have been hanging on to anger in the marrow of my bones? Bones seem like as good a place as any to harbor resentment, being hollow and all. I would think organs or even muscles are too soft for hard feelings. The stem cell transplant was supposed to be a re-birth of sorts.

I have to confess that there’s also something else about forgiveness that appeals to me. If you tell someone who hasn’t asked for forgiveness that you forgive him or her when that individual doesn’t admit to any wrongdoing, there’s a good chance it will really annoy that person.

OK, so maybe the old me isn’t completely gone. For now, I hope that the cancer has left, along with my ire. If not, I have to remember that I can control at least my recurring anger, my emotional cancer of sorts.

Photo note: When I’m in doubt of what type of photo to put up, I use a cat photo. I forgive this particular cat on a daily basis for something, almost immediately, because—well, look at that face!

After going to high school during the “alternative” craze of the ’90s, I was goth during my late teens and early 20s. I wanted to be a freak. Ministry’s “Every Day Is Halloween” was my anthem. I wore all black. I had vinyl pants. But I never was one of those people who would dress head-to-toe goth all the time, because I’m lazy when it comes to fashion. (Hence the goth thing—all black—versus a counterculture that would require more color coordination.)

My rebellion was only part-time. But I reveled in throwing my differences in the face of the world, even as I copied the looks of others. I started dressing weird in high school to scare people away so they wouldn’t bother me. It worked, for the most part.

I’ve always wanted to stand out and blend in at the same time.

I’m still not quite sure what I was rebelling against. Other people? I still wear a lot of black. Everyone in New York City does, so I feel as if I’ve really arrived home.

But I think my freak past is why losing my hair and looking kind of weird hasn’t bothered me as much as it does some cancer patients. I’ve gotten double-takes on the streets before. I’ve stood out in a crowd. (Unless it was a crowd of other goth people, and then I just blended in to the sea of black, achieving my delicate balance of standing out among the masses and blending in with my counterculture brethren.) Even after I stopped wearing so much black, I’d still wear some crazy outfits.

Now I look like a freak again. I’d forgotten what it was like. In New York, it’s pretty hard to get people to do double-takes. People are pretty conditioned not to look at you too hard unless you’re really going out of your way for attention. It’s not a bad place to look a little different. But I do notice people looking at me and then looking away, not wanting to stare at my bald head or my lack of eyebrows and eyelashes. I should make more of an effort with a wig, but eh. And I’m not going to draw on my eyebrows unless I really want to look like a freak.

Every now and then, I get the “Oops, I shouldn’t stare” look.

Sometimes, when I’m feeling nasty and I’m full of self-pity, I have that old feeling of rebellion, and I want people to stare. I want to remind people that, out of nowhere, something crappy can happen and turn your world upside down. It’s such a mean thought, and it’s erroneous to think that everyone walking around with hair has a charmed life. As I noted, I’ve been trying, at least, to remember that Ian MacLaren quote: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” That person who looks physically fine (who I might be unfairly resenting) might feel worse than I do or might feel terrible inside and I’d have no way of knowing. People who look well aren’t my enemy; my toxic thoughts are the problem.

Before I had cancer, I would sometimes sense—maybe wrongly—resentment every now and then from people who thought I had a charmed life. Not often, but every now and then, I’d get a whiff of resentment—a snarky comment, an undertone of bitterness. I wouldn’t even blame them—I often wondered if I had it too easy, or if I needed to be tested by something. I know now that I didn’t. I’ve had my internal battles.

Irrationally, sometimes I hope that I paid for good things to happen with this past year and that I can resume a life where things seem to fall into place for me.

Because things sometimes do seem to fall into place for me. I’d consider myself lucky, but I wouldn’t leave everything to fate. I’ve worked hard. It’s not like I’m undeserving of happiness.

I do have a gift, though—or gifts, I should say. Sometimes I wish for something and I magically get it. It’s always something random and very specific. For instance, I soaked my Converse once at SXSW and really had no shoes to wear, and at the next event I attended, they were giving out free tennis shoes. One morning, I wished for a hair blow dryer, and that night I got invited to an event where they gave out gift bags with free hair dryers. I’ve sat at my desk and wished for ice cream and had a co-worker pop her head into my cubicle, offering me a sundae she bought and didn’t want. I forgot deodorant on a trip back to Ohio, and before I could buy some on my way back from yoga class, I discovered a basket of free deodorants right by the door of the yoga studio. I have a lot of stories like these. It’s like, every now and then, life gives me a free gift.

I can’t wish for a million dollars. It has to be something small in order for my wish to be granted, and I can’t summon it to happen. I have to be not expecting to magically get what I want.

I already know I can’t wish the cancer away. I just have to hope—like everybody else—that this last treatment was successful.

I also know that I really don’t want to be some sort of sad reminder of mortality to people who see me in all my bald glory. (And I know I’m too lazy to always wear a wig.) I hope people just see me as a fellow person fighting a great battle along with everyone else. I’m finally standing out, like I always wanted, but I’ll be happy to blend in again.

Photo note: This photo is from my goth days. In the full photo, I’m looking up and smiling at a friend who has spiked his hair completely up before a Bauhaus show in Chicago.

After months of illness, it’s hard not to sometimes bitterly take stock on what you’ve missed out on. Today, I heard about something else I can’t attend while I have the immune system of an infant, but I’m OK with it. Other opportunities will arise.

There are some days when I’m not OK. I’m tired of being poked and prodded and not getting on with my life. The most frightening thing to me is the thought that this stem cell transplant and radiation didn’t eradicate the cancer and there will be no getting back to “normal.”

I don’t want cancer to become my life. But for some who have stubborn cancers, it can end up being something you live with for a while versus something you get over. I’m not sure if I’m strong enough to do the former, but there’s a small chance I might.

What I’ve lost, I can get back—for the most part. I’ve been robbed of some time. But when I look back at what I’ve lost, I can’t help but see what I’ve also gained. Not that I’m one of those everything-happens-for-a-reason people. I honestly don’t think that everything happens for a reason. If anything, I’ve always personally been more of an existentialist.

I’ve said this before, but I don’t think I needed to get cancer to give me any fresh perspectives on life. I was doing just fine. Dealing with this has changed me a little bit, but I still don’t think it had a profound impact, not one that I can tell. I already appreciated life and what I had. I didn’t need to slow down. I didn’t need this.

That’s not to say I didn’t learn anything, though. It doesn’t mean I can’t see some silver linings to my clouds. What have I gained? Most importantly, I hope it’s a cancer-free prognosis. I’ll find out in August if that’s the case. After more than a year I’ve treatment, I’m beyond over Hodgkin’s lymphoma. I just hope it’s over me.

What I’ve gained:

Mental strength. I’ve lost weight, and most of it is muscle. When I look at my wasted body, I try not to mentally calculate the hours in plank or in utkatasana it’s going to take to get me back to form. Right now, I’m walking to keep my energy up, and I’m probably going to start to do walking DVDs and extremely gentle yoga.

What I’ve lost temporarily in physical strength, I’ve gained in mental strength from enduring the treatments. As I mentioned before, I was perfectly happy suspecting I might be weak if it meant I could go untested. It turns out I have a little bit more fortitude than I thought.

I’m extremely squeamish. I don’t faint at the sight of blood or anything, but I generally don’t like to think about bodily functions or fluids or anything to do with the inside. But I’ve endured things like tubes in my chest and IVs in my arms. I’ve given myself injections. I can do some of this squeamish business; I still would prefer not to.

A sense of hair adventure. As I mentioned, I feel smug and superior when I see women’s beauty advice pop up in my Facebook feed, since it no longer applies to me. I don’t need to know how to have glossy, voluminous hair or know how to get curly, long lashes, since I have no hair or lashes.

Of course, I never worried about it much before, either, so my hair loss really hasn’t bothered me much. I would wash my hair and occasionally brush it, but I would never blow-dry or put any products in it. Sometimes I’d get a dreadlock and cut it out. I feel like there was some sort of session about being a woman and caring about beauty concerns that I missed as an adolescent.

I didn’t wear makeup until I was 25, at the urging of a friend who told me it was good for job interviews and looking professional. She took me to a few beauty counters, where I discovered they make you up for free (!) in hopes that you buy their products. I feel obligated to buy everything from people who work on commission, so I never take advantage of this. Anyway, that’s how I’ve applied makeup since—just simple eyeliner, shadow, lip gloss and blush. I draw the line at concealer because I don’t see the point of putting something that looks just like my skin over my existing skin. If I’m going that far, why don’t I just wear a mask and call it a day?

I stopped wearing makeup at 13, because I hadn’t known how to apply it. I’d put eyeshadow on my eyes and then, inexplicably, I’d put a swath under my eyes. No one told me I was doing something wrong until a fateful day in the lunchroom freshman year of high school, when a well-meaning friend asked me what was wrong with my eyes. I’d put pink eyeshadow above and below my eyes, creating bright pink rings. For some reason, I thought this made me look better.

“Nothing,” I said.

“But your eyes are all red,” she insisted.

“That’s my makeup,” I replied. It then dawned on me that I really must look like something was wrong with my eyes, because she seemed genuinely concerned.

“Oh,” she stammered. I must have looked hurt, and I think my other friend must have looked defensive on my behalf. “I just thought… It looks… I didn’t mean…” I will take the apologetic look on her face with me to the grave. Now she thought that I thought she’d insulted me on purpose. It was that point where someone has accidentally insulted you and that person visibly feels so bad that you feel worse for the person than yourself.

What she did, however, was helpfully shape my life for the next dozen years. I went to the bathroom, looked at myself in the mirror and washed off my makeup and didn’t put any on again for more than a decade. I didn’t know how to wear makeup, so I just mercifully stopped. Sometimes I’d dabble, but I had no interest in really learning, until my friend took me into the mall to finally help me learn how to apply makeup.

So my beauty routine falling by the wayside is a bit of a relief. I’m not big on wearing my wig. All my little cancer hats are in the wash, so I’m wearing a do-rag like Bodie Broadus from The Wire, and I’m totally fine with it. I’ve been tying my do-rag with a bow in the back, and I’m kind of hoping it catches on in the street. I’m going to sit out on my stoop more so the guys from the neighborhood can see and emulate.

I wish I could say that my aversion to makeup is some sort of feminist statement, but I’m just lazy. Also, I believe in setting expectations low. When I do wear makeup, people compliment me on how great I look. (Almost to the point where I wonder how hideous I may usually look, but just shy of that point.) My attitude is: This is what I really look like. Deal with it. If you’re special, one day I’ll make myself up nice for you.

This is what I look like now, and I'm OK with it.

This is what I look like now, and I’m OK with it.

I think I look OK. I’ve looked better, for sure. But I probably looked worse when I put eyeshadow under my eyes. That may have been my low point.

As someone who has had the same hair style forever, this has made me more adventurous in that department. I’m looking forward to trying short hairstyles, like that girl from the Halt and Catch Fire previews (but brunette) or maybe the Claire Underwood (but only if it makes me ruthless).

A sense of mortality and health. This one’s tough. When I was getting the radiation explained to me months ago, I almost cried when the nurse told me that I’d have to eat heart-healthy and exercise for the rest of my life.

It wasn’t the eating plan and workouts that made me sad. I eat generally healthy anyway, though I eat more candy than I should. (If I could sustain myself on sugar, I would.) And I enjoy working out. It was the permanence. For the rest of your life. The radiation doesn’t come without consequences—and they’re lifelong. My heart and lungs are a little weakened from being zapped. I’m at higher risk for some cancers later on.

I’m losing things that won’t come back. I might go through menopause very soon. I have to take extra efforts to be healthy because of what my body’s gone through. Things got real right then.

Even more perspective on how great my friends are. I’ll lose some gardening time this summer. As it turns out, everything I love—cats, gardening—can give me toxoplasmosis. I’ve gained some garden helpers who I can supervise over my garden plot this year.

In fact, I’ve gained a lot of help and support—more than I ever expected. The outpouring of kind words has been humbling. I don’t know what I did to deserve such a great group of friends, but I’m going to try to keep doing it. I’ve been inundated with cards, thoughtful little gifts and well-wishes. And, in many cases, it’s been from people I’m not always in touch with, so it’s been nice to reconnect with people. Even though the Internet is junky and boring these days, I’m grateful that social media lets me be in touch with so many people. Being sick is no fun, but it’s really shown me what a great network of support I have around the world!