I saw my oncologist recently and he noted that in a few months, I would be “Two years out from diagnosis – that’s good!” It is good, indeed. Here is what has happened recently:
I had excellent blood work – no detectable presence of cancer
Mort the Port (the device they implanted in my chest to deliver chemo) was successfully removed. RIP, Mort.
I started training for both a 5K race and a triathlon (1/4 mile swim, 14 mile bike and 3.1 mile run.) It is both difficult and exhilarating. It also has almost entirely replaced my social life – so hopefully I will see my friends again once this is over!
Remission continues to be a source of gratitude and a major challenge. Every day I hear of a cancer survivor who gets cancer again. It is indescribably difficult to live with that uncertainty. It requires a daily refocusing, and reestablishing of my trust in God. I find that brief moments of focused meditation are helpful.
While a cancer diagnosis and treatment are an emotional roller coaster, so can be remission. Some days, I find myself one minute basically forgetting I ever had cancer, and worrying about something shallow like something someone said about me (I have learned it is a luxury to be grumpy about something so silly!) and the next minute thinking about dying. One minute I’m thinking about adding more to my 401K contribution (operating out of the assumption I’ll be around in 30 years) and the next imagining how I will react when my cancer comes back. I know, it sounds crazy – imagine living it!
Most of the time, I am living in the present, looking optimistically toward the future, dealing with the pesky irritations of trying to live life in the presence of other humans, but experiencing deep joy, and observing and moving through life with a special perspective that comes only through knowing how fleeting life can be, and how fundamental trusting God is.
A longtime friend and I were having a discussion of a theological nature, and she said she likes to think about this question: “What IS this?” Like….what is this whole thing…this world, this life, our purpose? It’s popular to believe that “it” is whatever you think it is. But, it has to, like, be something. I think it’s God’s creation, for our enjoyment – an environment in which we can seek Him, or not. And while there is great mystery and only dim, vague understanding, there is an occasional glimpse of His glory. I’ve seen it. A tiny bit. I’ve felt it. A tiny touch. It comes in the form of grace and hope. In the form of love. And when we trust God – with our health, with our jobs, with those we love, we are free to operate in a less controlling way. We don’t grab hold of things and people, and squeeze them until their eyes pop out. We hold them with an open hand, and we love and serve and provide care and embrace support and watch the glory unfold.