I didn't think I would live to see this day, but I'm happy to have been wrong.
July 28th was the second anniversary of my diagnosis...and the prognosis that I could have only six months to a year to live. In the following days, my doctors and nurses were quick to point out that I was younger and healthier than most lung cancer patients. Surely this was an advantage over the cold reality of statistical survival rates.
Now, nobody will predict how long I'm going to live. Oh, the disease continues to do its thing and that cold reality always looms overhead; but what can often be an aggressive cancer is going a bit slower with me. Personally, I think it's because I'm just too damn stubborn to die...I've a lot genetic fortitude in that department! To give credit, some of the chemo medicines seem to have worked at preventing the cancer from spreading. Stability has been my story for long months at a time, and most of 2009.
As I pass this milestone, my story is back to stability. The latest round of scans show no significant changes since March, when I started a new chemo drug. We'll continue it another two months before doing the next set of scans. It's like a free pass to just ignore my cancer for awhile...the future is still unwritten.
Meanwhile, the past year has been a year of seconds. So many things in that first year I could have been doing for the last time; I got to experience them for another time (or even more times). Each one is a blessing of survival:
Brendan's birthday party.
Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Meeting my gorgeous niece.
Walking on the beach.
Fireworks on the 4th of July.
And a few things I got to cross off my bucket list:
Seeing the Barenaked Ladies play live from the second row...that was just a few nights ago!! Some things you don't know are on your bucket list until they happen.
Experiencing a minor earthquake.
Traveling to Florida and seeing the launch of Atlantis. That was very cool but Disney World was a bit of a let down.
Skydiving!! I did this when I was 20 years old...but I still have to include it.
Climbing the ninety-one steps of Kukulkan “El Castillo” at Chichen-Itza...got to do that one twice in my life.
Seeing the satisfying ends of the TV series "Battlestar Galactica" and "Lost." Any fans of BSG may realize why I such an emotional resonance to that storyline. Now I'm nervous to get hooked on a new series...though "Fast Forward" looks promising if it doesn't get canceled. Ironically, FF also features a character with cancer...giving me the question of, would I want to get a glimpse of my own future six months from now? Oooo, I dunno about that.
It's still difficult to live more than a few months into the future. Vacation plans are always ridden with anxiety, and we always buy travel insurance. But it doesn't stop us from making them; after all, I have the time for right now...and I can't imagine anything better than that.