I always post my blog on Friday mornings.
It’s one of the few routines I’ve got going, so it’s felt pretty important to me. Last week when I wrote about Hunter, I was a couple of hours late because I needed his mom’s permission before telling his story or showing you his picture. And even with that valid reason, veering from my schedule felt wrong.
Now that you know how important it is to me to post on time each week, you may be checking your watch and noting that this post is 3 days and 1 hour late. That’s how out of sorts I’ve been for the past 5 days. Waaaay out of sorts.
I hit a snag in treatment. It’s nothing we can’t deal with, but it bowled me over. When I sit down to write I prefer to be un-bowled over (bowled under?). But maybe I should write while upset a little more often so that you readers get the perspective of the pissed off cancer patient.
See, I found out that I had to stop my treatment plan and wait for the good folks at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center to reevaluate my situation. In fact, I’m still waiting. And it just made me so angry, because we had been plugging away and faring pretty well up until that phone call. I didn’t want to stop. And stopping the treatment plan made me want to stop everything. I sat around a lot. I sulked. I ate a giant bowl of popcorn for dinner and half a pint of Haagen Dazs for dessert. I cut my falling-out hair even shorter. Fortunately for me, I had a few work appointments that got me out of the house, forcing me to shower and to think of people other than myself.
Then the other day I met with a fellow writer. We talked about my experience with this damn terminal illness and the experiences of others who have had to face life-and-death medical decisions. Since I can’t tell my story without talking about all of the blessings, lessons, and outstanding people involved in my care and survival, those things all came up. And it was a bit of a lifeline for me.
On the 10th, my Facebook timeline reminded me of Elizabeth Edwards. She was well known as the wife of a senator/unsuccessful presidential candidate, but more importantly, she was a champion for the rights of women and the uninsured. She developed metastatic breast cancer and fought the good fight for years, while also fighting to change policy and take care of others. It came up on Facebook because she died exactly eight years earlier, one day after announcing that she would be stopping her treatment.
Her final post on social media ended with this: “But I have found that in the simple act of living with hope, and in the daily effort to have a positive impact in the world, the days I do have are made all the more meaningful and precious. And for that I am grateful. It isn't possible to put into words the love and gratitude I feel to everyone who has and continues to support and inspire me every day. To you I simply say: you know.”
I am not close to the day when I will have to decide to stop treatment. But every day I have to decide whether or not to live, and I have to decide what that looks like each day. Some days, it’s doing important things with my kids (football games, Sunday nights at Ziggy’s, our MLB quest, etc.); some days, it’s working towards establishing a dog park in town; some days, it’s regrouping and resting by moping on the couch and binge watching Veronica Mars. May each day’s decision serve my own “effort to have a positive impact in the world,” as Ms. Edwards did.
So here I am, a little bit late and a little bit pissy, but choosing to live on this day by writing my blog and feeding my soul.