I walked into the room, fourteen minutes late, just as a volunteer was bringing in additional chairs. I had been in this exact room once before, but that day it seemed more spacious – spacious enough for five of us to flail around the place feeling good about our White People Zumba moments. Today, the room carried an entirely different vibe. Rows of folding chairs had infiltrated the dance floor; the hippie-like Zumba instructor had been replaced by a more somber, more professional, more rigid man; the portable CD player was absent, but in its place was a projector showing a Power Point Presentation filled with color-coded charts; and instead of five energized people in the room, there were more like fifty-five – all quietly focused on one man’s professional lecture.
At first, I did not sit down. I stood in the back of the room, clutching my possessions and trying not to disrupt anyone with my tardiness. The man up front, Dr. Michael Robb, was pointing to a list on his Power Point and asking the audience a question; a few of them bobbed their heads up and down in confirmation. Immediately, I felt a lump form in my throat, and tears welled up in my eyes. Wait – what? Why was I crying???
My mind raced back to my first energy session at Desert Lotus Healing Center. I remember telling Annette up front that I wasn’t really scared to die, nor was I scared about the cancer in general. She went to work for two hours that day on my body, and when we debriefed afterwards, she disagreed with me about my initial claims. “You are scared,” I remember her saying. “Your spirit is scared.”
I’m not sure if fear brought on that immediate urge to cry this morning in that workshop. I know I am super emotional right now, prone to teenage-like hormonal outbursts at things I would have previously handled without the slightest inclination of feeling six months ago. Maybe it’s a side effect from one of the chemotherapy drugs. Maybe I am spending so much energy trying to hold myself together for all these house guests and 1:1 social outings/updates that the emotions have to find other opportunities to seep out and release themselves. Maybe I am more scared than my consciousness cares to admit. I don’t know. I do know that I stood at the back of that room this morning, keeping rigidly still and leaving my sunglasses on, until I could push past that urge to start bawling right in the middle of a neuroscientist’s lecture about chemobrain, ototoxicity, and otoprotection.
I’m worried that I never gave myself much time to fall apart after receiving this diagnosis, and my late-bloomer tendencies are reminding me that my time always comes.