It was three years ago today that I got that phone call. I should have known it was bad news from the moment I heard my doctor’s voice, but it took me a few more seconds and that deep breath with which she began the conversation to know that my breast biopsy showed cancer. The journey began.
Now I am looking in the rear view mirror, back on a year-and-a-half of surgeries and treatment, of appointments, of body changes, hair loss and growth, of experience.
In that same mirror, I see the death of both of my parents, my daughter’s wedding, Lizi’s launching and the arrival of two more grandchildren (and one more coming soon.)
Three crazy years full of life.
I’ve recently noticed that I’m starting to look ahead. Tentatively.
During my “cancer year” I read a lot of cancer stories. Some were inspiring and encouraging; some were terrifying. The ones that bothered me most were the women who fought for years, the breast cancer survivors. I remember the story of a woman who battled cancer for twenty-five years. Oh dear God, please no. I started thinking that heaven was a much better alternative.
I did all the treatments as prescribed, giving it my best shot for that year and a half, but there was always a question in the back of my mind: What if it comes back? What if those positive lymph nodes (13/17) or the scary staging (IIIc) meant I was doomed?
I didn’t talk about it much and I really don’t focus on it either. “It” is just always there, that big IF about my future. Every ache and pain–and there have been plenty–makes me wonder if it’s just an ache and pain or if it’s a harbinger of worse to come. Every plan formulating in my mind gives me cause to wonder if I will get to see it played out.
But lately, I’ve felt a shift in my thinking. I don’t want to live forever and I still don’t want to get really old but I still have some dreams, some projects, some life to live.
And at three years–and counting–I’m beginning to hope that I might just get to do it.