Hello friendly readers, I have been trying to write this post for several days now. I have started and stopped. Started, deleted. Sigh.
Just too blasted hard to write. Maybe I didn’t want to write it at all? Or, maybe I felt compelled to write and I was stymied?
For some reason, I felt like I should write. I just couldn’t make the words slip into place.
A couple of days ago, Mr. Right said, I wrote your blog post for you. I said how did you know I was having trouble? He just shrugged.
How is that for in sickness and in health? Even when I am having a hard time writing, he came to my rescue.
I am grateful, mighty grateful I have someone who, while he doesn’t ride a white horse (he drives a black car), he is my knight in shining armor.
Without further adieu, here is my blog post today, written by my Mr. Right.
When do you choose to celebrate?
Everyone has moments in their lives that are indelibly tattooed on their brains. If you belong to my generation, you remember precisely where you were when you heard President Kennedy had been assassinated. You watched the first walk on the moon and the fall of the Berlin Wall and you can probably remember seeing all the missiles going into Baghdad during “the first” Gulf War. We then have days that are unique to us that we remember: the day we met our spouse, first dates, weddings, child births, graduations, weddings of children, and the list goes on. Then there are the days we recall not because we want to, but because they were so personally devastating and caused such upheaval in our lives that we cannot forget. In this case for us, it was Jan 22, 2013 when we received the dreaded diagnosis. cancer. (spell check be damned – I choose not to capitalize the word) Daleen remembers very little of that particular meeting, and rightfully so. Her world was immediately and irrevocably turned into a maelstrom of doctors, procedures, appointments, drugs and choices, choices, choices. There I sat, with my game face on trying to be the strong one and listen to what was being said when I wanted to hold Daleen very tightly, scream and make the problem go away. So many thoughts were jockeying for position and the transitions occurred so rapidly that only a few survived, and they are all ugly.
We somehow stumbled through the next few days. We cried a little, hugged a lot more and found the wherewithal to put one foot in front of the other. There were tests and procedures. There were appointments and schedules. There were kind people and there were monsters disguised as healers in white coats. People who went out of their way to do what they could to placate us and remove the fears we faced and sadly those who did their utmost to exacerbate an already bad situation. Why is it so easy for some to be so negative, so mean-spirited and downright ugly? I trust they will one day change, though I know the odds of that are overwhelming.
We have a “moment” coming up that has us perplexed. Thursday, the 22nd marks two years since the dreaded diagnosis was heard. Thus, it’s an anniversary of a sort. We feel the need to mark the occasion, but what exactly are we celebrating?
It’s easy to say that we’re celebrating two years since the awful day, two years of living. But is it a good idea to celebrate the idea of cancer? Isn’t it better to not celebrate something so hideous? I don’t want to spend a minute thinking about cancer, but much of my past two years has been spent with a focus on the disease. How we eat, how we think, how we wash our clothes, how we clean our house and even how we clean ourselves. The water we drink and the air we breathe – even the water the dog drinks. All these things and so very much more have changed because of cancer. Remember the saying “The squeaky wheel gets the grease?” cancer is a seriously squeaky wheel and the sound cannot be denied or ignored. If we look at it objectively, what we are really celebrating is two years of staying alive, and perhaps that’s how we should think of it. By that standard we should celebrate each and every day. In our own way we do, but this particular date seems to demand more recognition, a more focused cause for celebration.
To not do anything to commemorate the day seems somehow wrong. After all, two years is a victory. Then again, two years and one day is a victory, as two years and two days will be a victory – you get the idea. For two years we’ve been swimming upstream. We’ve been charting our own course through the madness, taking in advice from everywhere and determining what is right for Daleen and for us. I used to be fond of saying that if you wanted to get a conversation started, tell people you home schooled. Years later, I’d say to tell people you are a home schooling vegetarian. I was correct with both statements, but little did I know I was an amateur. Now I’m a professional. I know how to get a conversation started immediately, one sprinkled with condemnation, disgust, bewilderment and judgment. Simply let on that you are fighting cancer without radiation and chemotherapy and instead are fighting it with excellent nutrition and clean living. If you do, cinch the saddle tight folks and hang on, it’s going to get very bumpy, very quickly!
So, a nice dinner will be a time out, a break from the routine. We’ll go somewhere nice where the food is safe for us and we’ll dress for the event. I think we’ll celebrate courage. Somewhere the lady I married found the courage to do what she knew to be right. Not right for everyone, but right for her. For those of you unfamiliar with cancer, if you are so afflicted one of the first things you should do is avoid sugar; sugar feeds cancer cells. Under the right conditions, you can actually see cancer cells “get excited” and grow when given sugar. One of Daleen’s oncologists invited her to a barbecue – complete with barbecue sauce (sugar) soda (sugar) cake (sugar) and cookies (sugar). That particular oncologist was visibly upset when it became apparent to her Daleen chose to “go natural” and made it quite clear she thought Daleen was nuts. Please don’t get me wrong, we don’t expect people to be familiar with cancer except in distant terms. We were woefully ignorant as well. When you receive no support – at all – from those that should offer it, the tasks become more difficult, the path strewn with even more obstacles. In two years, Daleen has learned how to climb over the rocks, give (mostly) deaf ears to the voices of condemnation and righteous indignation, all the while turning her life upside down and challenging everything she thought to be true. John Wayne perhaps said it best when he said “Courage is being scared to death…and saddling up anyway.”
This Thursday, I’ll invite Daleen to saddle up, well at least to hop into the car, and we’ll celebrate not what was, nor what is, but rather what she has become. That dear friends, is truly a cause for celebrating…
Have I mentioned lately how blessed we are?