Today I worked a part of the day, and then drove from Portland, through the town where I lived from 1st-5th grade, Corvallis, and on out to Newport, Oregon. In fact, I’m writing this from my hotel balcony overlooking the Pacific, While my boys (the 9 yo & the 37yo… left the Fluffy one w/ Grandma) doze in the hotel, I’m listening to people chattering at a bonfire as a counterpoint the the gentle crash of the waves.
I could have gone in and met my oncology team today, but the trip to Oregon for work was already planned, and I was really looking forward to this vacation, so I decided to keep the vacation plans. I will still have cancer in another four days.
The thing that really struck me as the sun set today and I sat out here with my boys awake, was the best possible thing about this diagnosis. It makes you really appreciate what you DO have.
As I mentioned, I’ve been sharing with my colleagues, not everyone yet, because I still have more open questions than there are answers, and some people I just haven’t had a chance to pull aside and drop my little news bomb on… but every single person I’ve talked to has been wonderful and supportive. The 20/20 program (which I’ve put on medical hold, but I’d lost 14.4 lbs in 3 weeks… even when I’m a TOTALLY emotional eater- GO ME!) gave me a gift certificate for a massage at their club’s spa. My team gave me a gift certificate for a pedi… not things I EVER expected, but they really make me feel loved.
So as I drove past the church where we went when I was in Elementary School, and the last time I set foot inside was my Grandmother’s memorial service when I was 20, her favorite hymn came to mind. I don’t even have to look it up, I’m pretty sure the right words just popped in to my head.
When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed
And you are discouraged thinking all is lost
Count your many blessings, name them one by one
Count your many blessings see what God has done
I’m not super religious, and for a lot of reasons, even though I was raised Mormon and my grandpa told me that this means I’m going to hell, I have a hard time with organized religion. But I do have strong beliefs in the kind of person I think I should be, and the kind of person I want my son to be.
And right now, that person is living right here in today. And that person is thankful. I have a good job, wonderful friends, an amazing husband and son. I have a nice house, a car that runs, and I can afford to be sitting here on vacation in where I think just might be the most beautiful spot on earth in this moment.
Really, what more can I ask?
I don’t WANT to have cancer, and I think that some of the people I’ve shared with think I’m in denial. I know I’m going to lose the breasts that have been a large part of my identity since I hit puberty. I know I may lose my hair. I know in some ways in the next few months, I may feel like I’ve lost my mind.
But I won’t lose who I am, or the people I love, or all of the people who love me. And I will continue to live my life in a way that all of those things will continue to be true. And having ridiculous boobs will have nothing to do with any of that.