Now that the drama of the last five weeks – and the last three columns – is mostly over, life can return to its previous/usual ebb and flow of cancer highs and lows.
For the moment, what I don't know: the effect on my "Adam's Apple" tumor (as I will call it) of the aggressive, every-three-week-infusion-schedule I've been on since early October, is definitely not hurting. Though I am under no delusions about what my next CT scan might show, I also have no confusion as to the road ahead: stay positive and remain engaged and live life with the least amount of focus and conversation on the dominating fact that I was diagnosed with an incurable form of cancer: non-small cell lung cancer, stage IV, almost 10 years ago. A diagnosis which came with a "13 month to two year" prognosis.
By most accounts, I shouldn't be writing this column – or doing anything else for that matter. I should be somewhere else – doing absolutely nothing, so far as we know, anyway. And I don't mean lying on a chaise lounge somewhere, soaking in the local culture as I try not to sunburn in the midday sun. I mean… well, I presume you know what I mean.
But here I am, alive and reasonably well; not boasting, just saying.
Because, as amazingly fortunate as I am to still be anywhere, nearly 10 years post-diagnosis, there's a part or me that believes not so much in what I've done to support my chemotherapy/conventional treatment (non-Western alternatives) as in thinking I've fallen through some crack somewhere and have been forgotten by whatever reaper is sowing these things.
Granted, he/she/it has a lot of work to do and an incredibly long list to get through; still, as the centuries have confirmed, eventually, everyone's die is cast.
Having survived so long when so few of the thousands of similarly diagnosed cancer patients have not, certainly gives this one pause. But the pause passes quickly and is taken over by positivity; as in I must remain positive about the negative and not allow any semblance of "woeing" about me or moaning and groaning about what I'm able to do or disabled and unable to do. Never!
I have been given the gift of life and I see no point in looking that gift-horse in its mouth. It is my job, if it could even been characterized as such, to keep my head down and keep moving forward, figuratively speaking. There is no point in thinking backwards or wondering who, what, where, when and how. The point is the future, not the past.
Unlike the country music song by Tim McGraw, "Live Like You Were Dying," I don't want to live like I'm dying. I want to live like I'm living. A living which takes into account the good, bad and the indifferent.
If I stray from what I perceive to be my usual path, I will know that I'm doing so for a reason: cancer.
And since I never want to reinforce a negative, let alone give it room to roam, I will continue to try and take it all in stride and be grateful along the way for the life I've been granted and try not to weaken in my resolve to not let others be adversely affected or diminished by my situation.
I pretty much do whatever I want to do anyway. Though there are many things I can't do (particularly, bending), there are still many activities I am able to enjoy.
To quote Spock from Star Trek: "The good of the many outweighs the good of the few." A bit of a stretch I know, but I hope you get the association.
For me to survive the ordeal of cancer requires taking the emotion out of it. The highs and lows must become evens. And the levels and test results which occasionally have become odds, merely moments in time and subject to change.
If I am to finish this race, time cannot be of the essence, time must be what I make of it.