Today the sky is grey, I’m about to get my period (so guess what my mood’s like. Or rather, ask my husband), and this room is rather dark. Having described all that, I’d like to talk about the bright side of things.
(And I’d like to turn on a light in this place. One moment please.
Right. So being diagnosed with cancer absolutely and undeniably sucks. I will never be a person to argue against the position, and don’t wish the illness (in any of its varieties) on anyone. Not even the most horrible of horrible people, because chances are someone loves them nevertheless, and cancer is most certainly terrifying and devastating to the ones we love.
(Okay, so I warned you already. I’m about to get my period and am therefore sliding toward a darker tone – but it’s not all bad, because I KNOW I’m a little moody, and can therefore attempt to apologize whenever things get a little too dark. Unfortunately there are no more lights to turn on in this room – oh! But there another widow shade that could be opened. Excuse me.
Better. Much better. Oh, hello natural lighting.)
So we’ve established that caner is bad. But here is another thing – a potentially good thing. It’s also like the BIGGEST perspective-whacking-stick you could ever have, well that and I guess maybe an out of body experience where ghosts of Christmas past, present and future visit you with each stroke of the clock.
And if you had anything in the way of a similar experience to myself (though fair enough if you didn’t, because everyone’s journey is unique), you most likely found yourself making resolutions. These aren’t New Years Eve’s resolutions where you give up chocolate, or promise to go to the library more, or aim to lose five pounds. These are “if my life is at risk, and my mobility and health could end at any time – these are the things I’d wish for most before any more of this crazy shit happens.” So there’s a lot of honesty and desire behind these feelings. These are the resolutions that tap into what it is you want/need most.
So I’m challenging you to make a note and keep it someone. To share it with us. To write it in your diary. To stick it on your fridge. Whatever. If you have been here – if you are here in now in treatment, or were here sometime in the past – or forget cancer even, if you’ve had your life thretened, or hit rock bottom, or just woke up and said:” Oh shit!” then I’m challenging you to sit down and make a list. Get it together in one place.
Back when I was diagnosed my initial and strongest desire was to return back home to Canada. Ultimatly we waited things out, and I’m glad that we did, but cancer firmed me up – Zsolt would immigrate, we were going to move.
Whether this is/isn’t a good thing in our lives remains to be seen. (It’ll be a great thing just as soon as a few strings get tied up . . .) But I can tell you this. While I miss my incredible friends in England, I no longer have this feeling thata piece of me is missing. You know? Like, before diagnosis it dawned on me that Canada and I may be permanently parting ways, and that was totally crushing. Crushing. It broke my heart. This was realized after getting married and setting up life in England. Canada was not in the cards. Crushing.
But then I made a resolution based on a deep, demanding urge. It uprooted everything we had had planned for our lives, however this past July when Zsolt and I boarded the plane to travel to Europe and spend the summer – I didn’t feel sad. I didn’t feel sick. I was nothing else but happy to be going. And that is really new.
Resolution = accomplished.
Other resolutions were to spend a summer in Balaton and Pecs, which we did last year. It was one of the most healing things I could have chosen. The fact that we are lucky enough to do it again this year is just a freaking miracle. (See, my perspective is brightening, along with the lighting.)
I yearned to travel. After treatment we flew to Portugal and I went in a bikini on the beach. Sure, I don’t have a right boob – but we were on a beautiful beach! The water was gorgeous. The markets were busy (don’t get me started on that awesome cheese) and it was just so freaking fun. Next up! The Atlantic ocean for 7 nights! Resolution = done. And will do again.
I wanted to buy a canoe. How ridiculous for someone who doesn’t even own a car. But guess what, this past June we bought that damn canoe – and even though it’s currently waiting at home in Canada – the pleasure of paddling with my husband on a quiet and lazy river has been huge. Yes, we spent money at a time when it was really stupid to do so (kinda like this trip), but screw it. I used to sit in that chemo chair with those drugs dripping in, and imagine the rivers in Canada – imagined showing Zsolt a loon, and splashing water onto our faces. Resolution = owned.
And yeah, there are BIG resolutions too. Moving to Canada, as I said, was one – and that’s still proving difficult. But my gut took us there, and my gut says this will work out. Having a baby is like the biggest, more life changing resolution ever – but it will happen, and we will get there. Being a professional writer, one step at a time. . . resolutions = still in progress!
It’s not easy.
But it’s good to reflect on the big and the small, and one-by-one tick off the list of chemo/cancer resolutions.
So what are/were your resolutions? I dare you to look back (or look around) and write them down – make them real on the page, and then see what can happen next.
-write more & publish
-have a family
-get a canoe
-go to Hungary for the summer
-buy real estate (and a cottage in Balaton)
-split time between Canada and Hungary,
-bring food to those who need it
-dress well/stand out
-eat good food
-be with family
-be with friends
-make this work