Saturday, December 28, 2013

Assiversary the Second

It was on this fateful day two years ago that cancer entered my world. My life has changed in so many ways. Some was immediate, some slower, and still the change continues. As hard as this journey has proven itself, in some ways I am thankful for the experience. I gained a renewed sense of awe and appreciation for this life around me. Just at a time when age and routine were beginning to throw their weight around. And I now have the freedom to spend time on whatever warms my heart most.

The other way to look at the timeline is that this is the beginning of my third year as a cancer survivor. However, using this perspective reminds me of the five-year survival rate chart that hangs in the dark shadows of my mind. Conversely also renewing my commitment to being fully present and enmeshed in each day and its moments.

I don't have much to directly say to cancer this year. Though I was thinking that this was a good "kiss-off" song to send along to it.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

All I want for Christmas...

... is a clean PET scan. And I got it. Best. Present. Ever.

First post-N.E.D., six-month PET scan was the shortest, clearest report yet. No suspicious uptake, no problems, no nothing. I was so relieved that I almost burst into tears immediately. This surprised me, though I suppose it shouldn't have. I had done an excellent job at keeping the "scan-xiety" at bay since having the scan itself three weeks ago. Been out of town a lot and doing the holidays thing with friends and family and tribe. It's been very busy but also very delightful. My blood pressure this morning was normal and low so my body was not showing any stress about the news. But a heavy weight was lifted from my heart when I read those beautiful words.

Perhaps you would think that the worst fears would be behind me now that I'm no longer facing the realities of cancer on a daily basis. And for the most part that is true. But there is a dark voice in my head that whispers hard words when I let myself be still enough to hear it. I use that voice to inspire me to greet each day with vivacity, to love more voraciously, to do my best, and to hold special everything that I am lucky enough to be afforded.

It has been an odd few days in my head though. I had an eye appointment last Friday with a new optometrist and in looking over my chart he said "I see you had a little cancer scare." And the off-handedness with which he expressed it seemed at such complete odds with my experience that my internal hackles lifted and I had to consciously soften my voice before responding with "I wouldn't say little." But then I immediately recognized that having a medical history with some cancer in it is becoming a far too common circumstance. My ire quickly turned into sympathy for all the other cancer fighters and survivors. And I sat in consideration of my initial reaction and emotion for a while. The next day one my girlfriends had their first baby; new life, new beginnings. The following day while fiddling about on Facebook, the name of a friend who died last year popped up while I was typing a post. So my mind has been pondering many things about birth, death and all the in-between, encouraged and emphasized by my current very Christmas-y disposition as well as the approach of the new year and my diagnosis anniversary. For now, however, I feel a little freer. Energized again to continue taking on the world.