Life really is so beautiful...it’s a little sad that we often realize this when it’s too late, or when something drastic happens to us.
Life is also fragile. We also don’t realize this unless we’re caught in a situation that makes us realize that we can be gone the next day.
When I was first diagnosed with cancer, I didn’t picture myself dying at a young age. The thought didn’t even cross my mind, because it doesn’t really hit you until much later on. Sitting in my doctor’s office, looking at my doctor’s sympathetic expression and trying to understand his words, all you think about is: “This is just another sickness. It’s like a cold or the flu, but with much more extensive treatment.” Why? Because cancer itself doesn’t physically hurt. You can be running a marathon the day before you are diagnosed.
You begin to feel it with every chemo treatment, with every clump of hair that falls in your hand, until you decide you’ve had enough and you shave your head. You begin to feel it when your life is taken over by doctor appointments and MRI’s. When every single day is a constant struggle with your mind, because it keeps wondering if the cancer has spread or if it has returned. That’s when reality hits.
News is sometimes too good to be true. This hit me today, when I found myself sitting in my surgeon’s office. The tumor they removed from me 3 weeks ago? It wasn’t cancer at all. The real cancer is still in me…a little tumor clinging onto my blood vessels deep in my leg. Oops. No wonder why the first pathology report showed that my “tumor” they removed was 100% dead..it wasn’t alive to begin with. There’s no one to blame. Not my surgeons, not my doctors, not the pathologists. In fact, they’re to thank. They’re saving my life..or at least trying to.
For once in my life, I’m solely relying on hope, chance, and luck. Having cancer isn’t like trying to get into a good college. I can’t study for it. I can’t prep for it. I just have to let everything hit me and hope I can keep getting back up every time I fall down. I also can’t fail. I can’t move onto the next best thing if I get defeated. There is no next best thing.
There’s a lesson in all of this. If this is life’s way of seeing how far it can challenge me, it’s doing a hell of a job. But I refuse to give up. The stronger it hits me, the stronger I will get. I will keep thinking this until I hit 80 years old. After that, life can do whatever it wants with me.
I keep making mental lists of everything I want to accomplish after I’m cancer free. It’s about time to list it:
In no particular order:
1. I want to learn how to play these:
2. I want to drive cross country.
3. I want to buy a really nice bike, and ride it more than I drive my car.
4. I want to learn how to let go of all the negatives in my life. Easier said than done.
5. I want to grow my hair long enough so I can donate it to Locks of Love.
6. I want to get my Dietitian license.
7. I want to meet Michelle Obama.
8. I want to live on the west coast for at least 2 years.
9. I want to travel to Tennessee with my cousin Jenn. She thinks it’s a weird plan. I think it’s awesome.
10. I want to go on a really nice vacation with my parents and brother- my treat.
11. I want to live in an apartment in NYC with my best friend Jen. The day that I’m rich enough to do that is the day I’m rich enough to afford the vacation for my family.
12. I want to write a book with Mavis about why boys suck. Co-author: Jen La.
13. I want to figure out why I know so many people named Jen.
14. I want to make people realize that happiness isn’t really something that’s hard to obtain in life. It’s quite simple really: if you woke up this morning and are able to sit and read this, you have no reason to be unhappy.
Life. It’s meant to be lived. Do a bit more living and a lot less complaining. It’ll take you places.