I am literally sitting by my phone, willing it to ring. I am stressed. If ever I needed to be present and mindful it is now, and instead I’m living entirely in the future. I am stressed about not hearing from the cancer center in Seattle, stressed that they might not be able to do this, worried about them not getting the information that they need from my surgeon, stressed that this won’t start on time, stressed about the cost and of going three more months without an income. I’m sitting here stressed over things I have no control over. When I am not worried about things I have no control over, I’m fantasizing about being done radiation, about it being over, about being cancer free. So, I’m spending all of my time either worrying about the next three months, or skipping over them to the end of 2014. I have my life “on hold” until 2015.
I need to get present. This was a beautiful weekend, a gorgeous reprieve from fall. I spent Saturday at soccer fields, Sunday running errands with Olivia and baking, in the evening I went for a walk with my daughter. I should have enjoyed every moment of it fully. Instead of spending time running dark scenarios over and over in my mind, I should have just enjoyed the game, the time at home, the walk, that fact that I am here at all. This next step could be weeks or months, it could go smoothly or with bumps, it could be done by end of November or could go on into 2015, which is all out of my hands. I need to plan and be prepared, yes, but I need to try to live now. I need to enjoy each day. The time at SCCA could be very pleasant; time to write, to think. I should enjoy the city, meet great medical personnel as I have so far, and meet other patients. I met and got to know other cancer patients, survivors and care givers in the Managing Life with Cancer class I took here, people who valued being present, why won’t I meet other great people in Seattle?
I need to find the confidence to do what I want to do, to write. Getting to try this is a gift. I won’t if all my energy is going into stress and trying to pretend that this is over. So, here is what I need to do; I need to put it down here, in writing, and then stop worrying and start living. I will write, and I will enjoy today with my family. Tomorrow, I will enjoy whatever comes. There has been much to celebrate in the past four months. I am a different person than I was, a BETTER person, and I don’t want to become a cranky stressed miserable person. I quite easily could; this weekend I saw that part of me emerge too easily. Instead, I need to be confident, calm, joyful and happy. I will live the most joyful, peaceful life possible.
The proton beam therapy regime in Seattle will happen, likely for eight to twelve weeks. The side effects will likely be non-existent or minimal, or they won’t be. I am doing this. I survived major surgery to remove the tumor and my recovery has gone well, so I have no reason to think that this won’t. I will likely be fatigued, and that may increase with time, but that’s okay. I will have short appointments every day, which will give me time to nap, to walk, exercise, be healthy, and most importantly, to ENJOY all of this. I can walk, read, write, and live each moment to the fullest. Sure, my sleep patterns are messed up, but I don’t need to be up for an 8 hour, 9-5 work day. I can write from one until five in the morning and nap in the afternoon. Writing is flexible, so if I am in Seattle and can’t sleep (wait, insert obvious reference to a movie…) that is okay.
This cancer scare is a chance to prove to myself that I can write for a living. Don’t waste it worrying or dreaming about the future, use it to write. Without cancer I would never have taken six months off to try to change careers and become a writer. I would have passed year after year wondering if I could. This is a huge gift.
My cancer, chordoma, grows from fetal tissue, if we get it all between the surgeries and radiation, it shouldn’t grow back. I will be cancer free and have a new lifetime to be the writer I can be. But don’t get ahead of myself again. Write and enjoy today. Wait for this damn phone to ring, for someone in Seattle to tell me when I can start, but use the waiting time to write.
I am on a journey, in a battle to beat chordoma, but no one said I can’t ENJOY the journey. I don’t like, in fact I HATE the disease, but how I experience chordoma, that is my choice, and right now I am choosing to enjoy the battle. I am choosing to live and enjoy right now.