Sunday, September 8, 2013

Alive and Well

Cancer Banter has been dormant for nearly two year. Of course, that's a good thing. Cancer, treatment and recovery now seem like things from the distant past.

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
A year ago at Knott's Berry Farm, I looked up at the menacing coasters and thought about the thrill rides I've been on as a patient and a parent: up, down, sideways, round and round and upside down. The next thing I knew, I was waiting in line with flocks of middle school students for the Silver Bullet, described on the website as an "aggressive thrill." And, in spite of my nonstop screams, the ride was more exhilarating than frightening.

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. 


Unknown said...

I´m glad to see your back! ;D


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Nancy said...

So surprised to see your post. Thank you for the update! I'm glad you are well. I miss you and think about you often. I also check your blog often for any updates. Call me sometime so we can catch up. A3M event next weekend October 5th. Maybe you can make it? Would love to catch up with you there and what better event for us to meet at????

Nelle said...

I think many people go through this. You forget after awhile and I think that reflects healing. The other day my son (whose treatment ended in 1993) said I am worrying less these days about it coming back. I don't worry about it at all.Somedays I do feel grateful and others I'm too busy to think about it all. So happy you have much to keep you busy. :)

Nelle said...

GREAT ADVICE!!!! It's so strange that I worried about cancer returning for so many years and now I am dealing with radiation damage issues instead.