Now what?

Thursday, December 19, 2019. A year ago at this time the Christmas holidays were the farthest thing from my mind. Completely understandable since I had just learned that my October 2018 diagnosis of poorly differentiated carcinoma was triple negative cancer, and I was overwhelmed with how limited my treatment options were (see Exquisitely sensitive” posted 12/23/18).

For the past year cancer has dictated almost every moment of every day. Even when I’m not consciously thinking about it, the little bastard is hovering nearby just within my mind’s peripheral vision. And the truth is, I want it there. I don’t want to let it out of my sight. I don’t ever want to let my guard down. Instead I want to keep it on a leash, under my control and watchful eye. As a two-time cancer patient with a nearly two-decade span in-between, I know I’ll never truly be out of the woods. The next two to five years are my most vulnerable. As the days, months and years go by, the odds just increase that I will die of something else before the cancer has a chance to force its way back in. That puts me into a weird sort of limbo—the cancer has been removed and treated and hopefully any remaining scouts were killed in the process, but I can’t say I’m a survivor. Not yet.

Now, I’m on the path of acknowledging milestones. For instance, on December 10th I saw Dr. Rugo for my 3-month check up following the 6-week check up I had after my last chemo treatment on July 8. It was a good appointment. My bloodwork was perfect. The exam was free of anything concerning that would indicate the cancer is still there. I will see Dr. Rugo every four months going forward.

Another milestone…on December 11th my Temporary Disabled Person Parking placard expired, and it won’t be renewed. That means a lot to me. Is that weird?

So where does that leave me? It leaves me pondering, “Who am I now?” Even though the cancer hasn’t killed me yet, it did kill the part of me that had come to believe cancer was something I had once a long time ago. It killed the me who enjoyed good health and feeling young for her age. It killed the me looking forward to her upcoming retirement with all the cool possibilities for crazy adventures and fun new experiences that lie ahead. It killed the me who joked about what an adjustment it was going to be for my husband Steve and I to spend all our time time together, hoping we didn’t drive each other crazy. It killed the me I used to see in the mirror and replaced her with this super skinny old lady with crazy curly hair and eyelashes that keep falling out.

santaHatNow what? Learn to love the me that I’ve evolved into because of cancer. Embrace life for what it is and try to stay in the moment. Spend more time with friends and family. Have fun.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Holidays, and all the best for a joyous, healthy, magical and peaceful new year.

When you focus on the goodness in your life, you create more of it. —Oprah Winfrey



13 Replies to “Now what?”

  1. Dear Lana. I can’t tell you how proud I am to know you. You are a model of a true warrior. You will see old age and handle that as you are handling this challenge. Know you are loved and admired. Keep up the good fight. You are fortunate to have Steve by your side. You are both gems. Stay well. You deserve that.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love love…life is crazy what it throws at us. Our response to it shapes the future beyond.
    An inspiration.
    Love ya! Your neph

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I sure do love you, Lana. You have such amazing depth and are so very eloquent sharing that depth (or this little part of it). Fortunately it is one part of you that has not been killed off.I look forward to spending Christmas with you & Steve!Hugs,CaroleSent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.


  4. My dear Lana, You are an inspiration and I am one of your biggest fans. You have allowed all of us to witness this journey with you through your candid posts detailing events along the way.
    Suffice it to say, you have eloquently navigated an unwelcome and powerful demon who continues to have power over you. My hope for you is that you live everyday with purpose and intention and surround yourself with the people who make your heart sing, the activities that give you pleasure and joy. You are loved and a treasured friend. I love you!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. From Lizard: I think your bout with cancer has not been all negative. Your voice is so strong–so accurately focused. Long life to you! All my love and good wishes–prayers– to you and Steve.

    From LN: I continue to be in awe of how beautifully you express the full spectrum of your feelings. I wish your sentiments could be shared with the world. Do you ever think of writing a book?

    You have awakened and reshaped many parts of you, which I think is enabling you to live each day to the fullest. You seem to be fully present and what a gift that is.

    Thank you for the very preciousness of Lana who touches my heart with a warm, sweet glow.

    To a most wonderful year and years ahead with your beloved Steve by your side. Happy Holidays! 💚💛♥️

    Liked by 1 person

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