There are loads more indicators. But my favourite one - of all time - was the day i went to see my therapist right after i had those creepy tampony tests.
Now the great thing about this person is i have known them for 9 years and they still like me. Trust me. This is rare. I start out pretty shinny and sharp but then i rust into the cheese grater of a human i really am and take you out at the knuckles. As one former friend said " I can only take her in small doses." ( so i reduced her dose to none)
Perhaps it is because we only see each in small doses - or maybe it is because they are being paid to talk with me - but this human is amazing. Gives me the tools, spit, kleenex and Oprah inspired reading list to put me back together and get the rust off my edges.
She has heard it all. Dead parents, being gay - getting dumped, - well essentially fired - i was really more of a staff member than a partner - the hell that ADHD is everyday - suicides, of kids, and dear dear friends, and the death of my dreams as an educator.
But - Coming out as having the kind of Cancer that you have forever - where your odds are better of winning the lottery without a ticket - however, was not expected.
Their face is now one i am very familiar with. When you tell people this ( some not all - it is very personal) their eyes dim. Then they widen, and disappear into their own narrative with the disease. Then they project all sorts of images of yet to come horror on you. From Tears of Endearment, Beaches, Dana, The Big C, their grandmother, neighbour, cousin.. anyone but you.
Then they cry.
Watching a therapist cry is HORRIBLE. Give me limping kittens dying in a mall pet store, make me watch 32 hours of Latter Day Saint ads, but please do not make me watch the one human of hope i have sob into a clipboard. That is a lot of pressure. Oddly, just the pressure i needed released.
"Oh Kelly…" " I … "….. I am so sorry… Oh Kelly…this is so not fair …" I could barley here them over all the sobbing. And there was a lot of sobbing because i had joined in.
FINALLY i was REALLY sad, scared, angry, afraid, pouty, shaking with terror, my chest heaving with years of pain -
" No it is not fair. I did not do anything to deserve this. I am a really good person with a big heart - i love love my job - I love life - as hard as it is sometimes - and i do not want to go out like this - I want to go out on the front page not on the back page in some tiny black and white photo with some sad write up about all the people i left behind.."
"What am i gonna do?"
"Oh Kelly, "They said in a soft smart voice, "You are going to do what you always do. Survive. One day at a time."
So far so good.