As I head into the second half of my chemo regime on Monday, I’m thinking about things people have said or written to me since I was first diagnosed. Many people, well meaning I suppose, have said that I will learn lessons from having cancer. Cancer is a teacher, cancer has many lessons, cancer can be a guide, cancer gives perspective, cancer makes you think about your life, and on and on. Someone even said maybe I needed to get cancer for a reason. I have to say that I am very clear about this: I did not need to get cancer. Nobody needs to get cancer.
I’m 62 years old and if I haven’t learned a ton of lessons by now, shame on me. I’ve spent my whole adult life figuring out not only what I want, but what I need as well. I spent years in therapy with a gifted therapist who helped me dig deep inside myself, helped me be completely honest with myself and helped me so that my gut, my insides, were as strong and solid as my outer core appeared to be. I’ve craved learning, honesty, and making sense of my world and I’ve surrounded myself with wonderful people who crave the same things.
The only plus from having cancer is that I’ve dropped about 20 pounds, but I’m well aware that there are better, more healthy ways to lose 20 pounds and I didn’t need to get cancer to lose the weight. I could have, and should have, been losing it before this all happened.
Cancer does make you think about your life, but for me, it’s no different than the way I thought about my life before. Yes, it has made me more aware of my mortality, but as far as thinking about my life, I have continuously done that as far back as I can remember.
I’ve spent my life wanting to live my dreams and to a large degree, I’ve done that. For sure, there are still more dreams to make a reality and when the treatments are finished I will get back to doing that with a vengeance. There is no greater feeling than making a dream become your reality. I’ve encouraged my niece and nephew their whole lives to live their dreams, to not take the practical route and settle for surviving. Know who you are, what you want and need, and find a way to make that happen. I’ve also encouraged all my students to do the same thing. Seeing passion in a young person and watching them take that passion and make it happen is a thrilling reward.
So I’m on the downward slope of chemo and can’t wait until it’s over. Then it’s on to radiation and more surgery. Afterward, back to my own life, my life with Libby, and to living more dreams. Hope you’re living your dreams too.
Thanks for reading.