I was driving, taking chances
Walking way too far out on
Some broken branches
Sometimes where you’re going
It’s hard to see
I always knew there was
They said no one could ever get me
To sit and listen
I was always
Trying to leave
Babe it got away from me
Nothing will ever just
Come to you, it’s only
What you find around
And what you do
If you don’t hold it tight
El Vy, “No Time to Crank the Sun”
It’s been one year since my life turned upside down. I was sitting in a hospital, hearing the words and blissfully unaware of what was to come ahead. At that time, I would be done with cancer by now. But I am not done. I will never be done. Until it is done with me.
One year of a life with a gun pointed at me, waiting for cancer to pull the trigger. That finger looks really unstable right now. My near future seems really unstable.
I didn’t know that I would be in danger of running out of chemo options so soon. I didn’t think that I would already be looking at trials as a backup plan.
I hope for the best. But after a 4-week gap in information, my first tumor number reading bumps back up again. Not a lot for 4 weeks, but it’s up nonetheless. Maybe it spiked again after my last treatment and then fell, and it’s actually on the way back down again? Unfirtunately, there is no way to tell without that interim data point.
To be honest, I’m scared. I want to do more living. I am not ready to be out of options. I’m not ready for this winding down summer to be my last. I’m not ready to have to launch high gear into the bucket list and try to get every experience and last goodbye buttoned down.
Give me a chance to see another few months of stability or shrinkage.
Give me a chance to see another summer and to see my oldest daughter’s first day of high school.
Give me continued health for a bit longer and I promise you that I will not take them for granted.
If I need to be ready, I will find myself there, but I thought that there would be more time.
I have had a year. That’s far more warning than many/most get, but I selfishly still ask for more.
Because I am just now figuring out how to live under cancer’s shadow.
Because I am floored by all of the beautiful people, potential experiences and love that surround me. And I want to bask in them a bit longer.
Because it took knowing that I was going to die in order to figure out how to live this life like it was meant to be lived:
-To take risks
-To stop caring what everyone thinks of me
-To simply be my beautiful self and know that it’s enough
-To love fully and without restraint
-To feel free. Why do we live our lives as if we are trapped without a key? The key is right there in our pocket. We have always been free to walk out and away from the people and situations that poison us.
-To have a purpose and goals that are in alignment with that purpose. To feel that you play a role in the grand play of humanity.
– To stop caring about and getting caught up in all of the small annoyances in life. They are nothing! Just temporary moments. Stop feeding and making problems that unnecessarily steal your joy.
-To love those who love you. To dive in and see their unique beauty and to recognize everything that they have to offer the world. And to accept them wholeheartedly.
– To dive deeply into showing affection, even if you are afraid that you might drown.
This is what life is and always has been about. But it is very, very difficult for most of us to see it. The whole picture. Until we are on the brink of having it being taken away.
I have leaped outside of all of my comfort zones this week. I have traveled across the border into Canada for vacation. I am staying with friends of a friend of mine and depending on their generous hospitality. I am surrounded by people who speak French, a language that I don’t know. I am talking, and listening, and taking things as the natural rhythm brings them to me.
I am trying not to think about the scans and results that will come next week. I am trying to- just for a little bit- not think so much about cancer.
So, on my first (and hopefully not last) cancerversary, I have decided to celebrate by taking a break.
No doctors visits. No bloodwork. No scans. No treatments. Just one week of living (mostly) like everyone else until the cold hammer of reality comes back down again.