Thursday, October 13, 2016

It's a very very mad world

I am past the halfway point through the second session of this fourth round of chemo. This week's pump has been named Percy (for both the poet and my old cat). Still mostly trying to embrace and accept the anchor that hangs off my shoulder for an exhausting 48 hour time span. This has been a more difficult week of it, but in about 12 hours it will be done. And I'll be able to quickly take my mind off of it when I meet a variety of friends for dinner and a Loreena McKennitt concert later this evening. My mind will continue to be sufficiently engaged and excited as I spend a long weekend with my sister, nephew and brother-in-law, and then follow up with a couple of days with my Paramour.

I'll come back down to cancer-earth next Wednesday for another brain MRI; continuing the every three months plan to keep a vigilant eye on my tumor-free brainy bits. Results of that won't be for another week of course, but I'll be certain to update when I have them.

Yesterday was yet another anniversary... they are coming fast and furious in this month of my re-diagnosis last year... the one-year anniversary of my brain radiation. That day stands in the top five of my scariest cancer days. I suppose you may be curious what constitutes that top five. As I began typing the statement about the top five I realized that I hadn't formally created that list yet. But it quickly coalesced into this:
1) The lung collapse and subsequent wide-awake chest tube insertion after my first biopsy. Still stands as the scariest moment of my entire life. There is nothing like feeling yourself being unable to breathe.
2) The initial diagnosis.
3) Going into my first major surgery ever for the primary tumor.
4) Learning I had brain tumors.
5) Brain radiation.

A difficult list to be certain. But, true to my positive perspective, it is easily balanced by an equally strong list of best things since cancer which includes new and stronger relationships, reclaiming and reveling in my life, and a few passport stamps.

These anniversaries do mean that Fall and early Winter have become weighty months for me. Which is a bit difficult as I always feel a slump when the cold weather approaches. (I suppose this means that Spring continues to have no contender for my favorite season. *smirk*) I was reminded of these anniversaries last week while I was traveling to California with a group of friends. At a quiet stretch of the drive, after the four of us had drifted in and out of conversations, I checked into FaceBook to pass a few moments time. As has become my habit, I checked the "On This Day" feature and it was a most interesting find.
(Oct 1, 2011, after 10 PM)
"So... have you even started any of the things you would do if you knew you had a limited time to live? Just asking hypothetically, BTW."
I cannot recall the exact memory of that evening. But I do know that I was in a transition period and moving towards two very difficult months. I was writing daily in my journal at that time, pondering and questioning my life and my choices. And also apparently asking the bigger questions. I know at the time of this post that evening that my answer would have been "no."

In one year and just under two months from that post I would be diagnosed with stage IV cancer. I had no idea... You rarely do. The ponderings of that night would quickly pale and fade against all the new thoughts, worries, questions and planning. I am certain that my FB post that evening was predicated by something I had watched or read earlier. Something that had me thinking about all the things I had not yet moved forward on in my life; thinking about the morass of my days at that time.

It's a strange thing that I have confidently said multiple times that I am a better person for cancer. Yet, I can now answer the question above with a solid, resounding "yes." And I cannot assuredly say that without this experience I would have made the changes within myself that have led to me to these happiest days of my life. It is a strange, unpredictable journey we make through this Life. We have no idea how strong we are capable of being until faced with true adversity. It is also through those most difficult times when we see the true heart of the people around us. You find your staunch supporters. You see more clearly the world and our place within it. You rise or you lay down.

So I continue to rise... even on the days like this one where I rarely left my bed and never changed out of pajamas. If nothing else I took some time to write; to explore that side of my nature; to put myself again out into the world. I will ask it again now... have you started doing what you want in Life, have you reached your goals or explored your passions, have you done best by yourself and the others in your world? Whatever the answer, do more... you will rarely regret it.