The sun rose this morning and brought with it the first true Spring day of the year. The air was light and full of the promise of the coming months ahead. The sky a deep blue that made the trees stand out in almost a bas relief against it. The flowers are opening and trees are budding. Even the magnolias. There were Wordsworth's "host of golden daffodils" and Whitman's "sea was whispering: me" from the little beach I look upon.
On a normal day like today I would have been covered knee deep in mud in gardening glory. I would only stop when it got dark out. But those days are on hold for a bit with my surgical limitations and discomfort... which unfortunately made me think of T.S. Eliot uttering that "April is the cruelest month." Indeed. It is cruel that something like cancer can rob us of entire seasons. Yet, I know that in order to have many more Springs I must give up at least PART of this one. I am going to fight to be as active as I possibly can. I am not giving the Beast an inch this time.
The first time I was diagnosed I gave in to it and suffered every bad side effect and didn't get out from under it, even on the "good" days. Not this time. I love life so much more now. I see all that I missed for those six months of torture I went through five years ago. I have learned to live every moment of every day and savor it. I will be damned if Cancer is going to take away my favorite time of year.
Today I was supposed to be home resting because of the surgical problems I am having with the new port they put in. On a day like today? I could "rest" and have some fun too.
And I did.
I went to a baseball game. Not any baseball team either, it was my hometown Little League and my buddy Scott who lives across the street was playing. Do you think I would miss that? So I worked my way up the bleachers and "rested" and cheered his team on. I was surrounded by young mothers who were brimming with good health and days scheduled to the nano-second between each of their kid's games. Everyone was so happy and so energetic, as if there was no place else on earth to be at this very moment in time. The ball field overlooks the bay and it was a great game as far as Little League games go.
Five years ago, I would have become maudlin and felt sorry for myself. I would have looked at the children and been sad I don't have any. I would have looked at the mothers and thought how can they be so happy- don't they know the Beast is coming for them too??? But I didn't. In fact, I noticed that I wasn't having a pity party at all. Somehow I had crossed over and joined their party- the young and the healthy and the happy! I will be healthy again and I am still young and I can honestly say, even in the midst of all this Cancerland nonsense, I am happy.
So this time, which by the way I intend on being the last time I ever go through this, I am doing it as a visitor. I will visit Cancerland from the other side- the side where the sky is blue, the kids are muddy and smiling, the moms have long, pretty hair and summer will be in full bloom in my little seaside town. There will be temporary mandatory visits for chemotherapy, but they are just that: temporary.
I learned this from last time. Chemo is not forever. It ends. Your life is handed back to you. I am just not going to hand over all of my life to treatments- just the parts that the Beast may have touched. But that is all. Life is too short. Life is too precious to waste a single moment of. And I won't.
Am I nervous to start chemo next week? You bet. I heard a phrase recently though. I think it may be a book title, I am not sure. It is,
"Feel the fear- then do it anyway"
And that is what I intend on doing.
Summer is almost here! I don't have time for no stinkin cancer! I have flowers to plant, baseball games to watch, barbecues to burn. Plus, Scott's team won! Then NEED me in the bleachers for luck! There are miles to drive with the top down and the radio on. There are beaches to walk and sea glass to find. There are my friends and family to enjoy. No. The BEAST is the one who will be making an exit this summer.
"I'm pleased and happy to repeat the news that we have, in fact, caught and killed a large predator that supposedly injured some bathers. But, as you see, it's a beautiful day, the beaches are open and people are having a wonderful time."
-Mayor Vaughn of "Amity Island"
I plan on doing both, Mr. Mayor! And this time I plan on getting a bigger boat...