“We had a scare.”
Isn’t that what people say when the doctor finds a lump and for hours, maybe days, they think it might be cancer? Well, this time it wasn’t people – it was me. And I came terrifyingly close to joining the club nobody wants to be a member of – women living with breast cancer.
The scare lasted 32 hours. 32 hours from the time the nurse called me to tell me the radiologist found something on my mammogram that didn’t look right to the time I walked out of the IHC Breast Care Center knowing what they saw was a lymph node and not a tumor. 32 sleepless hours during which all of my self-talk about not getting worked up over what could be nothing had no desired effect on me. 32 hours of worst case scenarios, worrying about how Aaron and the children would manage without me, already starting to miss the life I was still living.
“I have a new lease on life,” I’ve heard people say, and said myself in a facebook post this morning. My friends kidded me that I ought to stop leasing and buy already. But none of us can do that, can we? We can only rent this fragile life for awhile, and we don’t get to set the terms. My mom used to say, “The old must die but the young may.” I’m neither old nor young, but I know today in a visceral way that I want more – more time with people I love, more time to learn and write and make a fool out of myself. I want more of all of it, and I commit to you and myself today to do the only thing I can do to give myself more – waste less.
I will spend less time putting the boys off with “Well, maybe later.” If they want to go to the playground or McDonald’s or a park, and we’re not busy, that’s it. We are going! I will spend less time with people who treat me with anything less than kindness and respect. Life is too short and there are too many other people. I will spend less time worrying that my husband doesn’t find me attractive any more and open my eyes to the not-so-subtle way he looks at me. I will say “yes” whenever I’m inspired to and “no” most of the time, both without guilt or apology. I will love, love, love and fall flat on my face doing it, and I won’t care one bit.
Thank you, God, for this day. Thank you for this sweet life. Thank you for my brother Grant, who isn’t really my brother, but after 17 years on the air together, feels like blood to me. Thank you for the sound of my children in the background whenever I talk to Aaron on the phone. Thank you for Mexican food and curling irons and tanks filled with gas. Thank you for emails from my father, time with Laurel at Barnes and Noble and tickets to see U2. Thank you for journals and heart felt compliments, both given and received.
I have never felt so in love with my life as I do on this day, the day after I found out the lump was a lymph node.