Monday, 22 July 2013

The Anniversary Check up And the Strange Workings of the Universe

We just returned from a week-long drive to Alberta for my 1 year check up with Dr. T.

Anniversaries are scary; every doubt seems to creep up and keep you from sleeping well. I have had amazing care throughout this journey, but my doubts and worries are always put to rest by Dr. T. He is the expert who opened me up and took the cancer away, or as my son so eloquently puts it 'kicked the jelly's butt.'

I wanted to go and see him so that I could take a breath and move on. I don't think that you ever entirely move on from cancer, but for the past year and a half I have been living in the moment and in fear. In hope, partly, but mostly in fear. I hate being afraid; in middle school I took up drama to force me to confront my fear of crowds and public speaking, and since I have tried to face my terrors the same way. 

I wasn't prepared for cancer. Not for the practicalities of treatment, for the friends made ( and lost) along the way, not for the sheer pummeling that body and spirit can take. Mostly, however, I wasn't prepared to lose my ability to project myself into the future and plan what may lay ahead.

Dr. T was amazing. We discussed the MRI ( NED, stellar) he did an exam; he encouraged me to go back onto HRT as that will help me rediscover more normalcy in my life as well. He was delighted to hear that I am back to my old self, even playing soccer with my son; he was sad that I didn't bring him to meet him, but I promised that one day I will.  He asked me if I had written any more books, and thanked me for the copy that I sent him.  This wonderful expert, this amazing human being... how can I describe the love that my family feels for him? It isn't just gratitude, or admiration, but genuine affection.  This was the person who saved my life, and managed to save our family.  I asked a question for a friend whose family member is undergoing this journey and he was quick to point me ( and her ) in the right direction.  How are we so blessed, to have found him in our path? I finally got to meet in person his wonderful assistant D. - what a team! People who genuinely care and try to help feel so rare, this day and age. I hope they continue to inspire everyone that works with them for many, many years to come.

Another joy was in seeing my sisters and parents, all reunited in Calgary to make some better memories this year. Aiden got to play with his cousins, and while poor Chris slept away the week  thanks to a miserable bout with bronchitis we all made wonderful new summer memories of that beautiful place.

My sister Ula and her husband MOVED cities so they could be close to the hospital and support me and my guys. They didn't ask, they did it... they went above and beyond, and showed us the sort of love that I am still in awe of. 
My youngest sister, Val, had an internship in NYC that she passed up ( despite my protests) to be at my side and help me through the aftermath of surgery. She told me that whatever her future held would still be there, but that she needed to be there that summer to help me through the rougher times. And she did. This past Spring she got a different internship in NYC and today released the first single "M&Ms" of her EP Saudade:

 I have to believe that life is coming full circle, and letting us all rebuild. I can see the future now. I can plan, and picture my son graduating highschool, university, getting married. I can see my sisters in their careers and partnerships, happy and fulfilled. Like the fortune cookie I received as a teenager, my future now feels as boundless as the lofty heavens.

The MRIs will continue, every 6 months. I don't know that those quite end. But perhaps between those half year intervals I will disconnect a little and just build new memories every chance I get. I always get the questions and the comments, so if you ever need to reach out, I am happy to answer.

So here's to tomorrow, and all the tomorrows yet to come.

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