I'm in a strange place. I finished my six cycles of chemo in March, after which I had a PET scan and my Dr. told me I had a "complete response" - which I was later told is like going into remission. After that, I participated in an eight week drug trial. Tomorrow I will be having another PET scan, and hearing results on Wednesday. After that I'm...done? free? all of this on track to be a distant memory, yet I find myself conflicted, frightened, and a bit emotionally unstable. Weird right?
Shouldn't I be celebrating finally being free of anything cancer related? Shouldn't I be eager to rush ahead and grab life and just forget it all? Yet, over the last 8 months, looking back, I find myself inextricably altered. My life will never be the same. Of course, there are positives...I look at life, and living without a disease holding me back, as so precious. I am overwhelmed by a sense that each moment really is something unique and important, something that I'll never get back, except tucked away as memory. I have to figure out how to harness it all, and it builds to an energy, an excitement for life, and a private vow that I will live differently, in love, generosity and grace.
But then, there is fear. Tucked away a constant niggling doubt. It's one that knows the statistics, the numbers, the odds, the chances. Being exposed to cancer, and people with cancer also exposes you to those whose treatment isn't successful. It looms as something that might "come back" in the future. It sprinkles a bit of grief into every happy moment, a choke in the back of the throat when something special happens, a sense of "unfair" in looking when seeing my chances being wrapped up in two years, five years, ten years.
So, where am I? Well...it has occurred to me that there is no single one of us, whether the stats are obvious or not, that has a "future" beyond our next breath. It's sobering, gut wrenching, but...freeing also? I may not be able to escape these next words sounding like a cliche, but I need to live every moment. To not take things for granted. To treasure each moment by moment. To live in the light of life and death - this precious walk, step by step.