Cancer has a way of making your life feel precious. The thing is, though, even with cancer, life goes on.
So the precious-making part of cancer is intermittent and sometimes fleeting and more often than not drowned out by NPR and making grocery lists and feeding the cat and Nia shouting from the bathroom "Holler!" (which translates to "wipe me!" in our house).
The sometimes-amazing, sometimes-seat-of-your-pants-fun, but also often-mundane & tedious LIFE. Goes On.
Even when you have cancer, it turns out, you still have to do a fair share of errand-running, taking the trash out, unloading the dishwasher, paying the now-increasing bills. Sure, now you can occasionally play the "Cancer Card," too, like when someone gives you a hard time for accidentally being in the 9-items-or-less-line with 20 items (or paying your taxes in October instead of April like the rest of the country, ahem), but for the most part, regular old life goes on.
Some people look at this and see what's missing. Their "cancer silver lining" is in the half-empty cup: They see an opportunity to change their life, to make it more "worth while," to do the things they never did. They look at their career and wonder if it is what their life was destined for. Is this how they want to live out their now-precious days?
And I'd be lying if I didn't have some of that the-glass-is-half-empty thinking and wondering.
BUT. For me, I think my cancer silver lining has been more of the glass-is-half-full variety.
I got some news this week about my cancer. Or shall I say, lack of cancer? After the surgery, the breast & lymph node tissue was sent to pathology, and they found NO CANCER.
The cancer was completely eradicated by the chemo! (Insert Snoopy dance!) The 5cm sliver that the pre-op MRI showed up was scar tissue. A ghost of the deadly tumor.
What this means is that the chance of re-occurrence is much less. Suddenly -- and even more than I was feeling with the surgery itself or with the gene testing coming back negative -- suddenly I had been given back a chance at a nice L O N G life. A life that includes what I already have right now: A truly wonderful family in a beautiful place, surrounded by such an amazing community.
A chance to be really be grateful for what I have. A chance to really enjoy it. Savor it.
A chance to escort my little one to her first day of first grade, to see her get her ears pierced... to be a teenager, to grow into her own person...
A chance to try for another baby...
A chance to grow old with Joe. When we married, I pictured us some day puttering around in our golden years together, but the cancer clouded that picture. Suddenly I saw Joe and Nia growing up, moving on without me.
And yet somehow how out of the ashes, the phoenix rose and it was simple and beautiful: It was the vision of this life exactly as it already is... and the promise of it all simply maturing.
Twin rocking chairs on a porch...celebrating the heck out of all the birthdays between here and there.
I heart my life.