As many cancer survivors and warriors will confess, getting a diagnosis and living through the day-to-day of treatment, surgeries and doctor's appointments, frankly, yanks one into the present. 'Living in the moment' is truly what we are obliged to do. Whether experiencing the angst that accompanies the cancer voyage or trying to get through the next 10 minutes of nausea while waiting for meds to kick in, living in shorter spurts of life is what's essential for our survival. Albeit a more positive and present way to conduct one's life, it remains a worrisome way to live.
Fast forward to post-cancer, post-treatment, post-everything when we're supposed to be smiling about that fact that "You're done with all of that, right?" - it doesn't stop there for those of us having experienced the cancer adventure. And even though most all the people around us think that everything is back to normal, fact of the matter is, it's not quite normal, but a 'new normal' as many of us claim.
For me, I've moved past living my life in 10min. segments and have now traded it up for living my life in 3 month intervals. Not a victimized or martyr-like statement, just a fact. Ask any of my breasties or friends having endured the Big C and they'll tell you the same thing.
My cousin Chris, for example, lives in 'Every 8 weeks' time frames as he goes to Stanford for labs and scans to make sure "it" is still gone. And while his teenage self doesn't really dig too deep with that time reference, his worrisome mom, Deidre counts those weeks down like an antique hourglass. .....2 more weeks.....1 more week.....labs....scans......trip to Stanford....see the doctors.....hold your breath......good news......sigh of relief.....head back home.....8 more weeks.
As for my every 3-months ritual, I live my life to the fullest 'in between' but still with great apprehension, until the next oncology appointment. I don't count the days or weeks like my cousin does, but I do live my life on a quarterly basis, always knowing in the back of my mind, that I'm getting closer to my labs and a trip to the cancer center to see my oncologist to ensure that my numbers are good and that my lovely Tamoxifen, that keeps those malignant cells at bay, is still working. .....1 more month....1 more week......go for labs.....laugh & joke around with my fave phlebotomist Lee....2 more days.....day of my appointment......back to the cancer center...... walk past the chemo room......get my vitals done......wait for Dr. G. to give me the news....sigh.....breathe..... smile......high five Hil......call my mom with the good news.....wait 3 more months.
Again, this is a more positive way to ensure living in the present, but make no mistake when I say, cancer is the gift that keeps on giving. Well, sort of.