Wednesday, January 11, 2012

2012 and Beyond?

Happy New Year!

I have been particularly pensive these past two weeks. I want 2012 to be different for us. I want remission, or better yet, I want to be cured. I also want M to go to the university of her dreams or travel the world searching for adventures. I want C to be section leader for bass drum in the marching band and someday win the Tour de France. I want Richie to smile and be happy. I want my mom to live forever and I want world peace.

Not too much to ask for.....but I do have this ‘feeling’ that we will see change this year. I don’t know if it will be the cancer, something with the kids or Richie’s career, but I feel like we have been living on the edge of a great big yawning black hole for the past five years and this year, I feel like we have taken a step back from the edge.

We are having unseasonably warm weather here in eastern Kansas. A year ago, I was bundled up under hats, jackets and blankets trying to keep warm. And feeling like I couldn’t go on much longer. I had had about nine carbo/taxol treatments since summer of 2010 and was very tired and feeling defeated. I felt like I was waiting for something.

Thankfully, 2010 brought changes. After the biomolecular assay was done in early February , I found out some very specific things about my cancer. And this gave us hope and the names of some drugs that might help. I said no to more carbo/taxol treatments (for now) and started back on doxil at the end of winter. My hair grew back, a welcome relief.

We also had some wonderful adventures, making memories (as Dr. C says) which included a trip East to look at colleges, a stop in NYC to see a friend and race to the top of the Empire State Building. It was cold up there, but the day was sunny and bright and we were happy. We sent C to Europe and M had her first year of working at our local farmer’s market. M and I took a college trip with dear Stacey and had a blast cruising the upper mid-west dreaming of things to come. At the end of the summer, I received word that I could join the River Discovery trip and I took off with a week’s notice.

I think that is when the real change happened for me this year. Since cancer became a part of our lives my biggest concern has been how it affects Richie, M and C. As parents, we first focused on our children. We have offered whatever we could and as much as we can to help them through this awful reality. Always there to remind them that there is still good in the world and that this is life. It’s our life and we’ll make the best of it that we can. We’ve all had professional help from many different providers and we have had the best help from the community of family and friends that have surrounded us with help and love. I often envision you all standing in a circle, holding hands while the four of us float and move inside that circle. We know we are loved and safe.

I have had the luxury of focusing on myself and being able to take the time to educate myself about this cancer and what my options are in regards to my physical health. That I have had this opportunity speaks largely to the generosity of my immediate family and the support of every one of my family and friends. Rides, meals, smiles, hugs.....they all go a long, long way.

But the trip to Idaho was a real turning point for me. There, away from the structure and support of my everyday life, I learned a little bit more about myself. I learned that I am stronger than I thought. I learned that the river will never stop flowing, the sun will never stop rising. My heart will never stop hurting - it’s just that kind of heart. I feel these feelings because that is who I am. And I love myself. I love the person that I am. I love the wife I have become, the mother I always was and the friend that I am and can be. I love that I dreamt of being a mother when I was a girl and now I am. I love that I am alive, even with ovarian cancer.

And the river trip brought me to today. I can sit and think of all the ups and downs of the past five years, but I don’t feel sorry for myself or wish things were any different (other than the remission and/or cure thing) because then I might not have had or taken the opportunity to reflect on my life and the blessings it holds.

So I welcome 2012 and the changes it will bring and I hope for the best, prepare for the worst and be glad I am here to be doing that.