Toward the end of our Going East bike trip, I began to get these flashbacks. They would be full colour images (imaginations) in my brain of places we had been or people we had met. Mostly I would remember it, and then smile, recalling a particularly good meal or long day’s bike ride under the hot humid Thai sunshine.

I find it rather interesting that as of late I’ve been having flashbacks of times in my treatment and recovery. Mostly it is things like when I started walking the hallways of my complex. Then when I took my first walk along the Guadalupe trail after being off my foot since early January. I see cyclists of the path and I’m reminded of pedal strokes – climbing Mount Hamilton shortly before my port was installed, stopping at every corner as I climbed to cry, or climbing it again two days before my last surgery. I find myself thinking, maybe I’ll be able to do it again this March. Once my foot finishes healing and I can ride again. Maybe.

I am reminded of my many long walks in Alum Rock Park and in Rancho San Antonio. Again I think, one day soon I’ll be able to take long hikes again. Soon. There is no maybe on this one. Maybe is not an option. I will be hiking again at some point. Just not yet.

I was up at Stanford today and in a bit of a nostalgic mood. I went to visit my tree and took a stroll around the cactus garden. I still love that cactus garden. With the rains this winter things are much greener than I ever recall seeing them. I do not recall ever seeing the grass so long in front of my tree that I was unable to find a clear path to get there. One of the boxed trees was in bloom. Several of the smaller cacti had blooms. It was beautiful. It was green. It was a new birth – rising up from the ashes of too many dry months.

In some ways this green is symbolic. It is the new growth after a long illness. And yet, the drought it not gone. Nor is all the illness in my body. I’m not ‘sick’ anymore. I am cancer-free. But the cancer still lingers in its collateral damage. The memories are still there, fresh with the occasional flashback, but fading as time passes. I cannot stand to see bald pictures of me, and yet, at that time, I embraced the baldness. I proudly showed those photos. But not today. I’m not ready to embrace the bald, cancer sick me. Not yet.

Hmmm… maybe they are not Flashbacks after all, maybe they are just stupid Facebook Memories, that keep popping onto my timeline. There seems to be no way to permanently disable them. Facebook should allow you to block dates from its “memories” apps. The latest was their friends day app. It showed a collage of things drawn from your Facebook timeline. It was a beautiful collage of friendship – and then it ended with “and remember this” and promptly showed a bald picture of me that was taken the day before my first cancer surgery. Yup, I remember that. Nope, I didn’t really need to or want to. Thanks.

  • Becky

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  • I loved seeing the pictures of your tree and the cactus garden at Stanford — it gave me a flashback to the day you brought me to see this special place – a treasured memory x

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