These days, when I make a new friend, I don't immediately divulge my status as a "cancer survivor." (Not that I ever use that expression.) But recently, after divulging my past as a patient to a new friend, I received an email that made reference to my "life changing experience."
That phrase always makes me pause and think about how my life has changed post-remission.
I started thinking about this few months ago at a party. An old friend gushed, "You must wake up every morning so grateful to be alive." At first, I considered lying and telling her what she wanted to hear. But, instead, I looked her straight in the eye and said, "Oh, hell no." The initial "I'm lucky to be alive" euphoria wore off a long time ago, and now I have to remind myself to be grateful for each day.
Shortly after I finished my treatment in November 2007, I blogged about my fearless new take on life. I plunged into life with a new-found intensity. During this brave new period, I attended a toddler's birthday party and noticed a guest inching away as I spoke. Then she sheepishly muttered, "You certainly are intense." Note to self: Take it down a notch before attending a toddler party.
But, like my lucky-to-be-alive attitude, my intrepid lease on life slipped away. After a front-car-seat on one of life's most challenging thrill rides, the cancer coaster, and a brief post-coaster high, I was ready to play it safe.
|The Silver Bullet|
When my boyfriend insisted that we sit in the front car for Montezooma's Revenge, I reluctantly agreed. And, much to my surprise, I loved it.
So, after a few rides, both real and metaphorically, I have this advice:
- Contemplate the course and mentally rehearse the scariest sequences.
- Go with the flow. You can either bounce like a greenhorn trotting on a horse or flow like the Silver Surfer.
- Remember that almost everything is temporary.
- Enjoy the ride.