I want to begin by saying I am not a hypochondriac whatsoever... I am not a germaphobe either. I am not used to being “careful” or “cautious” or living in “fear”. So to have fear that my cancer could come back at any moment is driving me mad. I grew up fearless…jumping off diving boards at two years old…only the icy, steep River Run in Keystone, Colorado could make me cautious. Everything I have ever wanted in life I boldly went after…became a triathlete, ran marathons, first job in NYC, landed Evan (insert heart eyes), became a teacher, paid off my student loans (and debt from NYC), staying at home with my girls, and now here I am absolutely determined to be rid of cancer.
This week I experienced my first… ”Am I feeling pain?” moment. I realized it one morning as I was applying pressure and after my “before cancer” brain tossed it aside, my “current cancer” brain did a 180 and texted my husband about it. Then of course my head begins to spin and a knot developed in my stomach. Is this what it is going to be like for the rest of my life? Constantly worried that my cancer may return? That every little ache and pain is (God forbid) related to cancer? That makes me want to scream. My natural self does NOT live that way… I have never been a fearful, worrier… ever and now to be thrown into that mix frankly, just pisses me off. I don’t want to worry, I don’t want to constantly live in fear that the cancer may return.
The kicker is I guess they used to do body scans and bone scans to be sure the cancer was gone. But they stopped because the radioactivity was causing more cancer… are you kidding me?! What the flounder. (Insert angry eyes) So they only do scans if there is truly a concern. Basically, I have to pay attention to my body and if I feel an aching pain that never goes away… I go into my doctor to have it looked at. And yes, that means it could have gotten a lot worse and spread a lot farther in who knows what amount of time… but we couldn’t do anything about it until I feel it. (Insert screaming mad face.)
My takeaway from this… to pull out my bucket list for life…large, small, silly, serious, local, out of state, out of country and start crossing those puppies off the list. LIFE IS TOO SHORT Y’ALL. I know that is a common message in my blogs, but for real. Stop putting stuff to the side, stop saying I’ll leave this crappy job one day, or I’ll start eating healthy in the New Year, or I’ll get fit next year, or I’ll fix my marriage later, I’ll pay attention to my dreams one of these days. Retirement used to be the days that our parents and grandparents worked so hard for, created that bucket list for and hopefully reached that to make it happen. Well, folks… diagnosis of serious diseases are happening every day and to younger and younger patients…19, 22, 26, 32… and don’t even get me started on the little ones.
Life is not to be lived for retirement. I mean who came up with that anyway? I know Jesus didn’t. Life is to be lived for now. Yes, we need to be good citizens, good role models to our children and be responsible. BUT it doesn’t have to be cookie cutter or make sense to anyone else. We can live extraordinary lives y’all. We just have to color outside the lines sometimes, to open the door our self. What’s on your bucket list?
A few of mine are:
- Go to Italy, learn to make real (good for you) homemade pasta
- Hike Mount Kilimanjaro with my husband and serve on a mission trip while we are there
- Hike a 14er with my husband in Colorado
- Drive down the Pacific Coast with my husband
- Take our girls to Disney world
- Go to a University of Michigan football game in Ann Arbor.. in the Big House (insert heart eyes)
- Visit all of the National Parks in the US with our girls
- Go to Greece with my mom, aunt and cousin