I know I haven't posted much over the last year or so, which I knew would happen once I had readjusted to the real world and no longer had to spend my days being pumped full of poison, making fun of stuff that I shouldn't to keep my mind off of it. Truth is, as I start looking back at the last 9 months or so, I haven't readjusted as I'd hoped I would. In March, after my first CT scan came back negative (this would have been the first one after surgery), the world was my oyster. I had all sorts of plans to go out and conquer it, change it, make it my bitch, etc.
What most people never realize, and I didn't for awhile (still slowly realizing it now), is that beneath all of the abrupt changes that beating cancer throws your way, you're still the person you were before. The person I was before took everything for granted and mostly managed to carve out an existence instead of really living for anything in particular. Post cancer, I've seen myself slowly slip back into that of thinking and living. Turns out that despite all of this, old habits die hard, and it takes a lot of work to change your mindset. This is work I've failed to do.
Cut to this morning when I get a forwarded email from Susan. A coworker of hers also had cancer roughly a year before I was diagnosed. His was a type of lymphoma, which is far scarier than anything I went through. He'd just had his quarterly CT scan and they called to tell him that there was a "vague 6mm low attenuation lesion" that had shown up on his last scan. What he wrote about next, really hit home. The waiting after a CT scan is always unnerving beyond belief. Having heard the worst possible news already, your mind immediately prepares itself to hear the same type of news again. This happens every time, and I'm convinced that there is no other option my brain knows to choose when dealing with this. I guess Suz's coworker has the same brain pattern because he talked about how down in the dumps you get immediately and you spend a few hours just feeling sorry for yourself or your loved ones (let's face it, my cancer was probably harder on Susan than it ever was on me; something which always amazes me about her and at the same time makes me feel like a bit of a wimp.)
Anyways, then he started talking about how he realized that his family was travelling to Hawaii in 3 months and that he never really did anything or enough of anything with them. Granted, Susan and I did manage to spend a great week in Florida recently, and we've done Asheville for our anniversary, but since I have went back to waiting tables, we don't have the luxury of taking weekends away. We also don't see each other that much, which I hate, but at this point I had just kind of assumed a stance of: "Its temporary, and it is what it is...for now." After reading that email this morning, I've spent some time thinking about what I need to do better, how much do I need to change (A LOT...), and I spent the longest time wondering why I had regressed into just sort of coasting through what was going on in my life.
So, here's my advice, although it isn't totally mine because someone else had to write an email that I had to read and then think about before offering my thoughts. At some point today, take 30 minutes and think about the one thing you really want to do, the one place you really want to go next, or someone who's really made your life better. After you've figured that out, go make it happen. If its a place, start putting money back, schedule the time off from work and go do it. If its something of the material world, do the same as above, and then go buy it. Last and most importantly, if it's a person or group of people who make a significant difference in your life, figure out a way to make the same difference in theirs. There is no worse feeling than realizing how much you take something for granted. I realized that me not dying from cancer is something I took for granted for the last 9 months. I am an idiot. Don't be an idiot.