I’ve really missed blogging.
To be honest, I’ve been thinking about this blog post for awhile now. And ever since it has been on my mind, I have found the very subject to be cropping up in various areas of my life.
I have decided that I have officially outlived my “sell by” date and my “expiration” date at this point. It turns out I am falling apart – because no one ever thought I’d live this long! They’ve literally spent the past 6 years of my life patching me up with many of those silly, stupid raft patches you get with your fancy inflatables. The holes are coming to the surface, water is spitting through those silly patches!
This situation smacked me, quite literally, in the face when I felt a cavity brewing. Ahh, my damn Kryptonite – the dentist! I laughed in the face of the dentist as he cleared me for my initial chemo, then more chemo and then monthly infusions (okay, I guess I shouldn’t be laughing at a guy who’s helping to clear me for all that?). Anyhow – I giggled the last time I was there secretly plotting the rest of my days totally dental drill free! (This may sound morbid but remember my days have been numbered several times over the course of different treatments.) Then, about a month ago the pain and discomfort coupled with a ridiculous amount of dentist commercials during early morning news shows – had me seriously considering sedation dentistry. Let’s just leave it at that. I thought my days of cavities were over – and no such luck.
Then, on a walk with my dear pal, The Lovely Mrs. N, we walked by our currently under construction neighborhood pool and I casually mentioned to her – I never really looked at the picture of what our completed pool was going to look like. I was met with a “Really? Why Not”. I very nonchalantly, right in step with her said, “I never thought I’d live to see that pool done.” Silence. My lovely Mrs. N is about a foot taller than me and she looked down at me with a shocked look saying, “you can’t think like that!” Ha. Well, I do and I did and it’s clearly gonna get me into some trouble up ahead! (I am kind of feeling like a kid who didn’t do his homework in anticipation of a snow day.)
Just a month or so later – my left knee with it’s torn ACL started making trouble. Yep, back in 2014 – I decided to take a death-defying skid across my kitchen in a wet boot. Bam – retorn left ACL, a completely broken finger and fractured right ankle. I went through the holiday season looking pretty pathetic. Yep – I had crutches for both legs and I couldn’t wrap my broken finger around the damn things! It was all very sad. As soon as an orthopedic took a look at it, he was certain surgery was in my future. But, oh wait, there’s always that curious part on my medical chart, you know the one that says I have terminal cancer. They would really need to xray, MRI, test and retest to see if this knee REALLY needed to be dealt with. Turns out, it did. As I scrubbed up for surgery, I had this tiny little situation of a “spot” on my petscans at the time. It turned out days before this surgery, I learned I was scrubbing in for a permanent port because we needed to restart the hard chemotherapy. The orthopedic yielded to the oncologist (rightfully so) and I was given a cortisone shot to help get me through. That was 2015 and it turns out – this knee is needing some love. But, I really never thought I’d ever have to deal with it. The cortisone could get me through.
Then about two weeks ago – my right ankle started throbbing! I am thinking it is acting up because I am depending on it too much because of the left knee! Again, I never really thought twice about this stuff. And it seems it’s coming up in spades at this point.
The hubs and I have revisited mileage on the car and I laughed – nope I am done with car payments! Ha. The hubs kind of took a step back with wide eyes. Oh, I caught myself – well I just kind of figured I’d be dead before another car payment was needed. And then you wouldn’t need a second car either? Yikes….did that really just come out of my mouth? To say he looked back at me a little concerned, well that’s an understatement! Over the past few years, new clothes? Ehh. Who needs them, I’m on my way out. New coats, boots, etc…let’s do something awesome with that chunk of change because I won’t need that! Ha. Turns out, I may need a few things before I am done?
And these are just the big things. Back in 2010 when I was diagnosed and 1-3 years was a pretty commonplace life expectancy for me, I made the conscious decision to simplify. To make the very best of what I had left. To spend my days and nights loving my kids, my family, my friends. Embracing everything I could because you only get one life. I was going to spend a whole lot of time living in the beautiful, never replaceable NOW. (I must add this is long before mindfulness was a common practice! This was my own little version of “Zen”. )
In retrospect – I may have taken this just a wee bit too far. I mean, the Columbia jacket from high school – it’s really lived way, way beyond the expiration date!
Let’s be clear: I am crazy-over-the-moon humbled that for some unknown reason I get to keep being here (I have had to say goodbye to so many loved ones who this disease took too quickly, too violently, completely unfairly). And many may find my thought process morbid or dark. I must respond and say, until someone tells you that you are probably not going to live 3 more years – that shit stays with you! There’s no un-ringing that bell. You better believe that in every single thing I do, every single activity that thought is there. It is always there. There is no way to shake that thought. I try to kind of coddle that thought today. Let it have its’ space in my heart and in my head – and allow it to kind of catapult me into trying and doing things I would have never done had I not been given an expiration date.