I can’t lie, bouncing back from the radiation has been way tougher than I thought it would be. I’m not good at sitting still and resting, which makes everything worse. Even when things are best case scenario, cancer has a way of stealing away just a teeny bit of your life at a time. So slow and insidious, you might not even notice. Things go sideways for a bit, then you think everything is back to normal. But when you actually take stock and look closely, you suddenly see that your hobbies have dropped away, and all your outings are doctor visits, and your laugh:cry ratio is all wrong . . .
One of the members of my palliative team at Mayo is a chaplain. She is awesome. I connected with her right off the bat—so much that she officiated at our wedding. I met with her a couple of months ago and I don’t remember the specifics of what was discussed, but she said something which has literally been echoing through my head for weeks. Now, mind you, she’s from Mexico so she speaks with a heavy Spanish accent. This is how it sounds in my brain:
“Make peace with waaaat is caaaming.”
Make peace with what is coming. Okay. Which part? Death? More and different chemo? Getting uglier? The baby? Being able to do less and less? Why? What if I don’t?
Sometimes I think about all the famous, beloved people who have been stolen from us way too early because of stupid cancer. The one that really gets me furious and riled up is Adam Yauch, from the Beastie Boys. I mean, come on. It’s just astounding to me that we live in a world where a BEASTIE BOY can die from cancer. That is just so wrong.
It does seem like the direction we’re heading with all the incredible advancements in nanotech and genomic stuff, pretty soon death won’t be about a tall skeleton man taking your hand in a hospital bed, but more of an ‘opting out’. Sort of like unsubscribing from an email list.
Just think how nice that might be. You could just get old as dirt and do pretty much everything you ever wanted to do. One day you would just say, “Yep, I think I’m ready to find out what comes after this.” You could finish off all your work and creations and say goodbye and just peacefully float away.
Or you could say, “Eff that ess! I love it here and I’m not leaving.”
That’s what I would do.