It's a balancing act, really.
Cancer kind of simplifies life in a way. You get down to the basics. And it complicates things. You have to learn new tricks. Tricks they can't teach you in a manual. You have to think differently. You have to talk to people differently. Delicately. You have to weigh your options.
To live like I am going to die, or die like I am going to live?
Most people are not comfortable with me talking either way. I am not exactly comfortable with either. I guess the easy answer is I might die soon. I probably will. But what does that future do to the present? It all seems a little warped. There must be a middle ground that can satisfy both options. I pray to find it everyday. I try to find the right words to say.
But there are no words. There is nothing right about this situation. It doesn't feel good. It's not fun to talk about. It's not easy to think about.
It doesn't fit me. Especially, it seems, around the neck. And so I am always tugging and pulling.
I have struggled with the brain met issue. This is not something I can ignore. Can't leave it out of the equation.
When I was first diagnosed with stage IV, I asked, "So, how does melanoma actually kill you? Does it get so big in your organs that it causes them to fail?" The Dr. said death usually occurs because of uncontrolled brain metastasis. Thank goodness I didn't have any of those, thought I.
I felt, I have to be realistic at that point (the 25 brain mets point). We were very up front with the kids. Luke kept telling me, "Mom! Don't tell your kids that kind of stuff!" And maybe I shouldn't. But I would hate for this to come as a super shock.
I seem to get a little peace out of working out a plan (the nanny idea did not go well with the boys, we have finally worked out what we think is a great arrangement, should Something happen). I guess I would rather be prepared. Trying to, again, walk that line between realistic hopes and...as I'm typing this I'm wondering what 'realistic hopes' are.
The thing is, I am also prepared for a miracle. No work required there (or do I need more faith?). A heart is always prepared for a miracle. It would be so easy to fit into this story. It goes along with everything I said, and believe. It matches everything I wear. It would be the most becoming addition to this pretty existence.
So, when the kids still pray for all Mom's cancer to go away, I let them. Let them lean to that side.
And besides, my tumors continue to shrink. Like crazy, even. I realize it is most likely the workings of the chemo (temodar), and its effects are short term.
It does seem at the end of a day (especially a summer day) I find myself loving my life. Despite the bad parts. It is not to scale. The good, every time I think about it, outweighs the bad. The surplus is astounding. I love the very body that is attacking me. The things that are breaking my heart I cherish above anything. The kids that have to hear and consider some really hard stuff...they are thriving.
The world is a beautiful place. And here I am. On two feet.