The Gang's All Here!

The Gang's All Here!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Why, thank you, Cancer!

What exactly am I talking about? And no, it’s not the chemo talking. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking over the past two weeks (scary for many reasons!). Of course, I’ve asked why this is happening to me, why now, why my life, why why, why? After all, no one in my family (extended or otherwise) has had cancer, zip, nada. That alone should put me at the bottom of the risk pile. Add to that I’m fairly active, I eat “reasonably” well, and I don’t smoke or do drugs. So really, what the hell? Was it something I did, something I ate? Obviously, a person can’t “catch” cancer, but it would almost be of some solace to know that I somehow caused the problem. I could literally ask myself this 1,000 times (and maybe I already have), but at the end of the day, I still have cancer.

I basically had two choices when I was diagnosed with IBC: I could wallow in it, feel sorry for myself and whine until everyone stopped listening; or, I could put on my big girl shoes, dust myself off and deal with whatever comes my way. I will say that it was really tempting to wallow, especially at first. But honestly? Wallowing just isn’t my style. I’m a stubborn, persistent, moderately organized perfectionist. I’m working on the perfectionist part because I even annoy myself with that one. I also had the choice of keeping this to myself for as long as possible or letting people know. I chose the latter because I don’t want to fight this battle alone. The outreach and support our family has received has been overwhelming (in an amazing, fantastic way). I can’t possibly begin to explain how much the kind words, offers of support and most importantly, the optimism and hope mean. With that said, I really do have to give a shout out to cancer and here’s why. Cancer has put me in touch with people from every stage of my life, from pre-school on up through present day. It really doesn’t get much better than that. I’ve been able to reconnect with so many people from my past and present and I’m so very, very grateful. Reconnecting with friends from high school, college, work, summer camp, it’s been so wonderful that I almost feel greedy because I’m so happy!

Cancer has also made me really angry. I made the choice to stay home when I had Simon, so that I could spend time with both he and Stella. I’m furious that my time with them is being interrupted, that I’m giving up a year (at least). But, the other side of the coin is that at least by giving up this year, hopefully I’ll have many more to spend with them. Cancer is sneaky; it makes the fear and doubt rise up just below the surface. I’ve gotten fairly adept at kicking it back down, but every now and then, when I’m not paying attention, the thought that maybe I won’t be here, maybe I’ve got a time limit brings me to my knees every.single.time. I can’t imagine not being here, not growing old with Steve, watching our kids grow up. But, the fact remains that even if I do have a time limit, whether it be a month, a year or 50 years, I’ve lived a fantastic life. I have a wonderful family and two beautiful children. I have the most amazing friends a girl could ever ask for. I’ve been to some pretty cool places and events. Most importantly, I’ve had the chance to meet and marry the love of my life. So, thank you cancer, for giving me the wake-up call I apparently needed. I’m going to appreciate each and every moment, past, present and future that I’m given. I don’t want to miss anything, especially embarrassing Stella and Simon in their teenage years! I’m so lucky to have this chance, this opportunity to change my life for the better. I’m damn lucky.

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