Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Peaceful Piece

Someone posed a question on the No Surrender Survivor Board asking if cancer changed you in the long run. Are you anything like the old you?

I will post my answer here too- because it really has.

The old me used to be scared a lot. I would wig out at little things and would let certain opportunities pass me by out of fear or inertia.

I also seemed to take for granted that the people I loved would be there forever.

I was restless.

Impatient

And dumb as a post.

Today, seven years later, I have found a peace in me that I never had before.
I may be nervous about doing something but instead of passing it up I do it anyway... and discover I have fun and why in hell wasn't I taking chances like that before?

I don't say no to that BBQ or party because I would rather hang out at home. I go.
I don't think, well I couldn't possibly start that project or business opportunity because it would never work- now I say- what do I have to lose- just do it. Which may account for the fact that we are now a 501 c 3 non- profit organization and hold the Unites States Trademark for
"No Surrender."

I take my time with people I love and let them know they are special to me.
I am not restless anymore.
The only time I am impatient is when I see that I or someone here is not getting proper care- but instead of stewing about it now my newly uncovered Norma Ray comes out and I make a stink- in the nicest way possible of course!

And I still may not be able to do math or figure out a sense of direction- but I am not dumb anymore when it comes to being my own advocate- much to the chagrin of my medical team.

I played hooky one day last week and went to the ocean. I live on Long Island Sound, which is lovely, but sometimes you just need the crashing waves of the Atlantic. So I went across the island and settled in a dune that had been created by the outgoing tide. It was only a small patch of dry sand but it was cool to have a sand dune behind me like a little bunker and the entire span of the ocean in front of me. The waves were huge because of the after effects of hurricane Ike.
And I ran in and out of them and felt like I was a kid again. The ocean can make you feel like a little kid no matter how old you are.

As I stood in the sun and surf it occurred to me that one year ago exactly I was completely bald... in the middle of chemo... had painful expanders... still had several months of chemo ahead of me and then radiation... and here I was:
Hair on my head. Treatments over. Looking like every other person on the beach.

I was overcome with such gratitude and joy. I said out loud, THANK YOU to God and my guardian angels and to the earth for getting me to this place in time.

I may go home and find out I have to start chemo all over again- but for that moment I could honestly say I did it again. I went through chemo a second time and for the second time I came out the other end in one piece. A grateful, humbled, peaceful piece.

So yes, Cancer changed me. For the better.

1 comment:

Kim said...

That is absolutely one of the most beautiful personal entries I have ever read, Gina. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself. I only have a little patch of hair left on my head before officially declaring myself bald. I have completed 4 rounds of dose-dense A/C and 1 round of weekly Taxol . . . I have 11 more rounds of Taxol to go . . . but after those 11 weeks are up, I will check the temperature outside (it will be December, of course) to see if a trip to the Oregon coast is just what I need to celebrate (about a two-hour drive). We'll see. Either way, I'm celebrating. And you, my darling, are just one of the beautiful people who has given me the resources I needed to make my celebration of life possible. God Bless You! All my best, Kim