Still living…….just with cancer
When you know you have limited time, I suppose it’s super easy to get caught up in what you are going to miss. And believe me when I say, I do think about all the things I won’t get to do. The future is always so magical. My son once told me that when he feels like he’s moving forward in his life, even current despair seems to lighten.
I don’t know how much forward movement I will be granted; I do feel the impacts of a growing cancer. Replacing my vitamins when they are empty can cause stress – – how many tablets per bottle will I still be here to take? 60? 120? Or should I even bother to take them any more? Should I get the COVID vaccine when it gets here or should I let someone who will live more years take the precious dose?
However, in the meantime I also think about what I haven’t missed since I was diagnosed. In three months, I will cross the three year mark and I’m still here. Most people with stage 4 pancreatic cancer live less than 1 year – – – and every day I think about that.
The most important thing I haven’t missed is meeting my GRANDDAUGHTER – Nikki, the Little Lady! Not only did I get to see her within days of her birth, I have been able to see her transform from a cuddly beautiful newborn into a sweet disarming infant who reacts by smiling and cooing when I play with her. I have actually been able to play with my amazing granddaughter as I enjoy the gift of babysitting!!
I’ve also seen my son and my wonderful daughter-in-law blossom into beautiful loving parents and mature new homeowners. I was able to attend their wedding the previous year and have a fabulous time with family and friends sharing in the event. We all stayed in the same hotel, so for me, it was a weekend of numerous festivities. The hotel’s breakfast buffet was a mingling event for me! Even my hair cooperated and grew in for the occasion as I was on a prolonged chemo holiday. No chemo meant I could dance into the wee hours of the night after the rehearsal dinner (ok, it was only 11:pm, but for me that is an hour I only see if I wake up in the night).
I enjoyed the accomplishment of another son as he completed his first electronic music song and could finally call himself a musician, realizing a dream he had for many years. I was able to be a supportive Mom, as he transitioned his career into digital marketing and moved to Chicago. Hopefully, COVID will allow him to branch out into a new life there!
I’ve been able to see my final son grow into his chemistry world and make his mark by building a database to organize and schedule studies for his company. He is moving forward in his life with his dear girlfriend as they begin the process of “adulting” by searching for a home, hopefully on a lake to support their passion for the outdoors.
My husband and I have been gifted the care of a sweet dog, Riley, after the death of my neighbor. She has provided so much joy in my life and it warms my heart that Bill and Riley will have each other after I‘m gone. I have wanted a dog since I was diagnosed and it seems amazing to me that she did arrive.
I don’t forget to focus on all the other things – I’ve been able to see the blooming of my 99 daffodils this past spring again and the beauty of my gardens as they have finally matured. I get to see the glimmer of hope for the beginning of change in America through the Black Lives Movement. This is important to me for the foster babies I nurtured who are now adult black men and women in our fractured society. I have still been able to enjoy the world that is out there by kayaking, hiking, traveling to Door County etc, etc, etc. The list goes on and on. All filled with things I never thought I would do again when I was first diagnosed.
I don’t fall asleep counting my blessings as Bing Crosby sang, but I do take a moment as often as I can and think of all the wonderful things I haven’t missed.