I regret to share the fact that my cancer has returned. In actuality it never really went away. Because I’m in such good health overall, my oncologist offered me another round of chemo, which I will probably refuse (I’m about 95% certain, but some doubt remains). I figure that if the chemo didn’t work before, it will work no better this time around, and would at best afford me another month or two of life in return for making me far weaker and more miserable when my end comes. I feel fairly certain that the proper course of action is simply to let go.
I’m not depressed or morose or fearful. As I was last year during my initial treatment for cancer, I’m quite calm and collected. I ACCEPT what is going to happen to me. My oncologist congratulated me for skipping the first four of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’s five stages of dealing with grief (anger, denial, bargaining, depression) and going straight to the finish line of “acceptance.” “I don’t get a lot of patients like you,” he told me. Apparently I am an enlightened being, which pleases me to some small degree. 😉
If the cancer progresses with the same speed it did last year, I reckon I have four to ten weeks left. And I’m good with that. All things considered, I think of myself as an incredibly fortunate human being. I’m glad that I lived to see another beautiful spring. I’m glad to be loved by my parents and brother. I’m grateful that I had Frank and Miles in my life. I’m glad that I lived long enough to finish writing my time-travel teen romance novel. I’m glad I managed in the course of my lifetime to evolve from an insecure and unhappy person into a confident and happy one. I am very thankful for my many dear friends, who know who they are. Most of all, I’m simply glad that I lived at all.
My grandmother told me once that although she belonged to no formal religious group, she believed very strongly that in order to have a good life, you must leave the world in better condition than you found it. I have tried to do this very thing by means of my newspaper column, which often educated readers about energy efficiency, green construction, solar retrofits, self-sufficiency, vegetable and fruit gardening, and sustainability. I have devoted significant time to volunteering in my community and I have always practiced kindness to others. If my grandmother were still alive, I hope that she would be proud of what I have accomplished.
If I had any advice for others, it would be this: Seize the day. Breathe deeply and pay close attention to all the countless beauties of the world around you. Take good care of your friendships, and thank people whenever possible. Practice warmth and courtesy. Protect the earth, which is under assault from all directions. Most of all, enjoy yourself, because although it might seem endless right now, life is indeed very finite.
I’ve enjoyed my own trip through life vastly. Have you? If not, it’s never too late to begin.