I had not intended to write a blog post today, but Facebook brought to my attention memories of this date – July 19 – from previous years.
It was on July 19, 2012, that I was told a tumor (goblet cell carcinoid) had been found on routine pathological exam of my appendix following emergent appendectomy on July 11, 2012. Dave and I were also told by my surgeon that I should have follow-up surgery to remove my right colon and ovaries.
Whoa. Talk about a literal punch in the gut. That news came outta nowhere.
I underwent the second surgery in August 2012, and have now seen three years of survivorship. Again. I say “again” because I underwent treatment for early-stage breast cancer in 2001.
You know, I really don’t think about the GCC these days, although the residual effects of that second surgery are with me daily. My body certainly isn’t the same following that surgery; I live with a “new normal.” I’ll spare you the details.
Three years. The five-year survival rate is about 70-80%. Could be better odds. Could be worse. Those are statistics, and I am not a number. I have been cancer-free for these three years. Most days I feel pretty darn good. Our lifestyle over the past year has allowed me to drop some weight, so I’m back down to a trim 130 pounds, having shed about 15 during those months. The reality is my long-distance cycling days are gone, but I walk as often as possible and have found that I love walking. I pretty much eat what I want and do what I want physically.
I have been a bit concerned lately about our future. Our security job here runs through September and, as of this writing, we do not have anything else lined up. We are hopeful there will be another assignment for us, as we like and are well-suited to the work, enjoy the people with whom we work and, well, the pay is good. We are, however, exploring other options for the long term in case that does not materialize. We would be foolish not to do so.
Thing is . . . all any of us have is right here, right now. Life can change in a literal heartbeat, the ground and life as we know it shifting and falling away from us into the Unknown. Sometimes that Unknown is kinda scary, eh?
One of the blessings, if you can call it that, of a cancer diagnosis is putting your world, your life, your relationships, your beliefs into sharper perspective. It brings into precise focus what is truly important in your life. It can also be a reminder to lighten up.
Fighting, beating and living beyond cancer is serious business, not just for the survivor but for spouses, partners, friends, caregivers and everyone affected by, and on the periphery of, the survivor’s diagnosis.
A few ants in the kitchen? Annoying as hell, yes. But, hey, no one told me today that I have cancer. Lighten up! It’s a great day! Woot!
Not sure where we’ll be in three months’ time? The Universe knows what It is doing and things unfold as they should. We’ll see what shakes out and try to put together a parachute of our own to help float us to where we are meant to be.
No one told me today that I have cancer. Lighten up! Life is an adventure!
Approaching storm this evening
We have settled into a routine here again. Our day starts between 11 AM and noon, feeling no guilt at sleeping in to such hours since we are working night shift. We make a grocery run one weekday and another weekday is laundry day. There may be days when we need to run another errand or perhaps I stay here and Dave heads out on the bike. We are back on the property by 4 PM if we do leave and begin our on-duty time through the night into the early morning when facility personnel are back on-site. Honestly, I’m content with not having to go anywhere the days that aren’t for getting provisions or doing laundry. Weekends are different, as we are on duty around the clock from whenever the last person leaves Friday until the first one arrives Monday morning. I have been working my virtual assistant job quite a bit during the days and overnight in between patrol rounds. Evenings after dinner we watch some TV together; right now we are making our way through Frasier.
Yep, Life is indeed good.
Three years down the path of survivorship and I am grateful for this moment. Right now, at this place. I am grateful for and still head over heels in love with my brave and strong yet gentle (and oh-so-patient) Scotsman after being together essentially 24/7 for almost 10 years. Truly the legacy of William Wallace (“Braveheart”) lives in the Soul of my husband. I am grateful for our wee Maggie, the sweetest and most cheerful-hearted dog. I am grateful for our home, our work and our adventures in Life we share. I am grateful for the adventures yet to come for us.
I am grateful for right here, right now.
Thanks for stopping by!