I have heard of people who survived cancer say that if they could go back in time and choose what would happen they would still have had cancer. Perhaps the people samples were on extremely heavy doses of drugs. I don't think I am one of those people. If I had a choice, I would have the easiest life possible- with servants, whom i would be very nice to. OOps, I mean to whom i would be very nice. I forgot Terri Ross reads my blog.
But I can see a tiny bit of their rationalization. Having cancer, even very curable stuff like me, changes things. Granted, I could get run over by a truck at any time but you don't have that in the back of your mind generally when you are perfectly healthy. When you are being treated for cancer (cause that's what i am, I no longer have it, I am being treated for it.) you are always in places - hospitals, radiation clinic, support groups (I imagine) where you are surrounded by a bunch of people with your illness and you know some of them ARE going to die. So you appreciate things in life that you may have taken for granted. When I took a lower- paying job, with fewer hours at a hospital close by, I immediately picked up a second job, further away, to use up all my excess time and make more money. I quit that job when i got diagnosed. Now I enjoy the extra day or two off, the fact that I don't have a horendous commute in Boston rush hour traffic, and that I work with people I really love. Downsizing the house makes it very easy to live on less money. And knowing that I had been diagnosed with something that can be fatal (to other people) I really think about what i want to do in life, what is important and what is not. My kids and my friends are important. As yet another old lady on facebook, I now keep in touch with people from high school (the ones who haven't died of old age yet, anyway) and other friends i haven't seen in a long time.
And of course there is Emily,my niece who died at 18 from leukemia. Before she got diagnosed- about a year or two before, actually, I sold my house in Sharon. This was when real estate was doing a little better than now. ANyway, I made a ton of money, some of which went to the house i am getting rid of (again, how great that I didn't put all of the money into it, as I would still be in the processof a short sale.) Anyway, i spent some of the money on a cottage at the beach for the summer to live in in between houses- renting one, I did not make that much money! And I took My daughter, Laura, My niece Emily, my friend Cindy and myself off on a European vacation. We called it, the shallow girl's tour of Europe. We did not go to a single museum, we had Eurrail passes which we sometimes used but were generally not smart enough or fluent in the language to figure out the train schedules, so half the time we rented a car. In our defense, let me say that that year there was a tremendous heat wave in Europe while we were there. Well at least in the parts we were in, so pretty much we went places with beaches- the french and italian riviera and barcelona and of course, shopping- paris and London. We managed to find the equivalent of TJ Maxx in all fancy foreign countries, we went for quality not quantity, there were no $5000. gucci bags for us. When Emily turned 16, we were in Paris. We went down to the hotel lobby for breakfast and toasted her birthday with mimosas and chocolate croissants. She and i will always share this memory, I mean how cool is that, celebrating your 16th birthday in Paris! I think my own kids had birthday cake from Shaws at home. And of course noone knew then that Emily would get sick and eventually die. I am just so thankful that that one time, I was smart (people may question the use of that word, but look how it turned out!) enough to not put every cent away into some sort of investment and use some for fun with people I love. I love meghan too and if you are reading this, for the thousandth time, we wanted you to go, would have worked around your work schedule, but that was the year you did not like me. well not a full year, but you were in that stage when you would rather be in sweaty connecticut with smelly horses than in Europe with me. I believe I have taken you on other vacations have I not?
Now what was my point? Oh right, having fun, being with people you care about, living in the moment with a little less worrying about what may or may not happen in the distant future. And going sky-diving. And riding on a motorcycle- as the passenger, not the driver, I may be crazy but not insane. And i want to go to Africa, maybe even as a nurse in one of those places they need nurses. Yeah, I know, Africa is a huge continent with thousands of different places, some that i should not go near, some that i should, etc. I will get a map and look at it before I plan an African trip. I may even google stuff.
And appreciate the small stuff. Like i am going to appreciate the hell out of my new C-cup boob when I get the reconstructive surgery. I now appreciate the little one I had before surgery. So all you girls out there, appreciate your boobs. And your hair. You will miss them when they are gone, however temporary it is. ANd stop saving your money for retirement and take your friends on trips instead. I always keep my passport in my pocketbook in case someone says, hey let's fly to Rome tonight. When you retire, you're going to be REALLY OLD,so you can probably just sit back in your trailer park and think you're in Rome.
OK, now I need to get going and focus on the truly important things in life, like getting a manicure and a pedicure. It is much more important to look good than have money in the bank. And by the way, I have not eaten a chocolate croissant since Emily died because it is just not the same.