Saturday, February 2, 2013

Can I Have This Dance?


Why do we fear death? What causes us to freak out and think the worst when we are diagnosed with cancer? What is it about the human condition that causes us to sob silently when we know 'the end might be near?' We all die. We all know that. No exceptions.

 If I had enough time in a day I am sure I could whittle it away philosophizing about the human condition. But there is no time for that. I experienced cancer and both my happy hubby and I learned a ton. When I was first diagnosed with ovarian cancer back in 2008, I was, admittedly, shocked and I travelled quickly through the stages - shock, denial, confusion, sadness and acceptance. God taught me plenty. Probably the biggest lesson was about the fragility and brevity of life and how not to waste one iota. (P.S. Just because I arrived at the acceptance stage doesn't mean I didn't freak out on occasion - like when I lost my hair or some brain cells along the way.)

     November 1st of this year will mark my five year point. They say if you survive to this anniversary, a cancer patient can consider herself no longer in remission. Dare I say cured? That brings me great joy but today, it also brings me great guilt.

     Perhaps it has something to do with my hubby being diagnosed with leukaemia? Could it be a defense mechanism at play as I clearly have walked a mile in his mocassins and I don't want him to travel the same road?  Maybe it's because Karen and Joanne and Becky died from ovarian cancer and I didn't.  Survivor guilt, maybe...

     My sweetheart has chronic leukaemia and the haematologist told us he is in stage 0. Basically stage 0 means we can breathe easy for a while. We walked away from the cancer clinic armed with the knowledge that all could be well for a while. However, the nasty niggle is that chronic leukaemia is just that - chronic and it doesn't go away. Slow progression is the prognosis. Although no one can really predict how quickly aggravating and troubling symptoms will rear their ugly head. At present that grinning groom of mine is experiencing little except tiredness. I notice he tires a little more easier than he has in the past. He beats me to bed most nights and a nap in the afternoon when the opportunity arises is not uncommon.

     So what do we do with the rest of our lives? We can sit here bemoaning our fate, wondering why we were dished up a double whammy? We might contemplate what it was that we did wrong in our life and then begin to feel sorry for the way the cards were dealt. Or we can roll out of bed each morning giving thanks for each breath, each golden sunshine, each smile...each blessing.

     Both my dearly beloved and I head back to face the music in June. I have to check my calendar but I think we go the same week. I head to the cancer clinic in London. He heads to the cancer clinic in Kitchener. Maybe we should meet halfway, stop our vehicles and dance in the middle of the county road like we did so many years ago and dance to the sounds of Ann Murray - Can I have this Dance for the Rest of my Life...did I ever tell you that story? One day...Sweet memories, which no one can erase. Those I will treasure...


WhiteStone said...

Life moves us onward. At our house I am just beginning my 5th year with ovca...still on chemo, but starting a regimen of low-carb diet and supplements...blending naturopathic and oncological medicine. And my hubby? He has acquired a rare disease that caused his kidneys to fail. He's doing well on peritoneal dialysis at home. Live moves onward. We are grateful for each and every day. Bless you and your hubby each day.

Dr. Swill said...

I am approaching my 6 year Cancerversary. I expected to die. I was told I only had a 30% chance to survive, so I did my best to emotionally prepare. Like you I am filled with great joy and also carry with that tremendous guilt. Not because a loved one has been diagnosed, but because I think of all those I met during treatment with my same cancer that are now gone. I've learned there is never an answer to "Why?" but I still can't understand what I have done differently that has allowed me to be one of the lucky ones. Is there such a thing as survivors guilt?