I am not an optimist. Never have been. At times during this cancer journey I thought my cancer was retreating. A scan usually (always) proved me wrong. And regardless of prayer and hope or expectation I am looking at the cold hard truth of my situation. My cancer has spread to nearly all my organs. It is extensive through my spine and pelvis. The most daunting are the lymph nodes in my neck which now resemble tennis balls. They have grown into my jaw and face and cause me great discomfort at the base of my head.People who know little about “cancer” tell me I look good and will beat it or live a lot longer. Doctors do not. I do not. Actually, I am now in so much daily pain that I hope I do not linger for a long time. I love my husband ,children and friends ….I would love to be here forever for them…but not like this.
I say that knowing that when I returned from the hospital I had an evening of game playing with the kids and an array of close friends who came to visit in short bursts. I say that knowing I spent time cuddling with Kelly until late in the evening. I say that knowing I can no longer be alone in the house..ever again. Not even with the kids. My cancer in my neck is beginning to make deep breaths a challenge. Swallowing too. Hospice told Naomi and I that in these head and neck situations the tumors sometimes grow into the major arteries and will cause internal bleeding. I signed an advanced directive. I am going to try a couple more rounds of chemo for kicks I guess, and then if there is no improvement I will enter hospice “full time”. I am still happy. Everyone else is sad. I am just in pain. And I have tried almost everything they have folks. Except maybe crack…I heard crack is good.
No I am not an optimist. I am realist. And reality is just fine with me. Today is the day of my twins’ 8th grade graduation. They each have won several awards of academic merit. I know I will cry. In the fall both boys will attend St. Joesph’s Prepatory Academy (the Prep) on full scholarship. I am so totally proud of them. Afterwards we will go to lunch as we have always done at my old work, Tattooed Mom’s. A family tradition. It is a wonderful day. We also found out that our daughter Bailey was accepted to Penn Charter with a full scholarship. She will start there in the fall. Tomorrow is Alec’s high school graduation. He too has won academic merit awards. He will attend Rochester Institute of Technology in the fall. It is the #5 engineering school in the country, according to Alec. He will major in mechanical engineering with a biomedical option. I am so proud of all these achievements. Who needs optimism? My cancer motivated me to find safe places for my children. My realistic nature let me be honest with them, myself and others and ask for help. And it reminded me to stay in the moment and not worry about what might be around the corner. The future is a bogeyman to all you anxious types. I am a realist I only live for today the future is fine on its own.
My today is not perfect or cancer free.But is a good day nonetheless. I have no idea how many more I have, and that is fine too. I think the biggest fear at this stage is suffering. Physical pain kind of suffering. We all want to go out quick and painless, no? We shall see. I am no optimist though….but not an anxious type either…it will be as it is meant to be. Today is a fine day. I am here.