To Love

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It was a year ago today that I was diagnosed.  A year ago that I had no idea what nueroendocrine cancer even was.  In all honesty, when I reflect back it feels like a movie – a drama filled with highs and lows. At times it was a comedy sketch, and during certain rounds of chemo like a sci-fi flick, where I was the lifeless alien.  I have become a narrator for my own life and unfortunately “that friend” that has cancer and a blog.

We see people like me all the time.  Sometimes on Ellen, sometimes on YouTube videos and sometimes anchors on ESPN.  Some people decide to be a cheerleader for their own cancer, others silently and secretly battle alone. If you are me, you set out on a quest for love.

Love.  Who knew that there were so many types?  Who knew that when you strip away all the bullshit of our daily lives, love is what we are all thirsty for.  The plot of my story became real when I discovered the love for my son.  I mean wow.  I am his BIGGEST fan.  On nights when my house is asleep (except for me and my cat) I try to wrap my mind around this craziness.  I could almost be ok with the cards I’ve been dealt until it comes to him.  For the last year, I’ve thought through all of his life’s major accomplishments and wondered if my baby would be ok without me present.  Would he – and so many other people – feel like he “needs his mommy” at high school graduation, or his wedding?  It took me a year of thinking that he “needed me” to realize in fact that I just want to play a supporting actress in the movie of his life and watch it play out.  He has the “it” factor.  He’s got my wit and his daddy’s smarts.  He’s got our integrity and work ethic.  He’s confident but not arrogant.  I’m just so excited about his future I can hardly stand it and then I remember… I remember the bullshit cards that his precious little life has been dealt.

If I have one single wish, it is that my journey doesn’t ruin his.

So with all this noise rattling around in my head, how do I get through it?  How do I prepare for another round of chemo?  How do I pull myself out of bed and put on make up?  How do I feel like a productive member of society and be present in my own movie? It’s love.

It’s the love I get from my family, my framily, my friends, random strangers and football players.  It’s because of friends that I hadn’t talked to in a decade who sent an e-mail telling me they love me.  It’s all the lunches, coffees, text messages and bracelet-wearing love.  It’s because of my friends that aren’t strong enough to step up (but I still accept) and it’s because of people that I never expected to step up or shouldn’t have stepped up at all because they have enough shit on their plate (Fuzzin & D).  It’s love from friends that say the wrong thing, because it gives me fire to roast them afterwards and remind me that I’m here to fight and bitch another day.

So here’s to the sticky, messy, nut-house of an emotion, to keep me dreaming and hopeful about a thing called love.  To love.

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For some strange reason, I feel the need to add this one small message.  I wrote this post a few weeks ago when I was feeling strong, empowered, and determined to kick cancer’s ass.  I saw my oncologist this week, and for a million reasons, I left the appointment feeling weak, sad, disheartened, and marching slowly towards my death.  I fell into a pit of gloomy despair for a few days.  My friend Gilbert had taken these photos of me a few days before my appointment, and when he sent them to me, I looked at myself and had to remind myself not to give up.  I look at my fellow warriors in the cancer center and then look at these pictures and I just shake my head.  I so don’t fit into the mold of a cancer patient. Ultimately this may take my life, but not today, not tomorrow and certainly not in the near future.