You have to make a lot of choices and decisions when you’ve had constant bad scans and cancer keeps growing is spreading.
Which treatment to choose… how to tell your kids… which events to go to…how to fit in exercise… what to eat.
It can cause you to just curl up and stop. You press pause, go inward, not move, barely breathe.
But it’s important to decide that you have to LIVE while trying to save your life.
Not just breathing and eating and keeping your heart beating.
But proactive living that makes life a verb.
Saving my life is a priority, but so is LIVING.
Last year on July 4th we stayed home and didn’t see fireworks. The kids were bored, I was sad because I started IV chemo and my hair started to fall out, and I had serious social media envy of everyone else’s day. I swore that if I made it to the next Fourth of July, it would be a great one.
Turns out it was, just not how I envisioned.
Madison was sailing in Newport with the Naval Academy, and Morgan and Quinn were at camp Kesem. I received a picture and a report on how Maddie is doing, and I felt better.
Morgan and Quinn’s counselor let me know they were ok after the empowerment ceremony, and looking through the pictures posted this morning, they definitely had a memorable fourth.
Rob and I went for an early morning walk, then he worked all day, so I decide to head to the Giving Room. I met an old sorority sister and we shared a juice at the bar.
I feel like ebenezer scrooge, as I keep getting visits by people from my past, except I have better hair and don’t need coal thrown in a fire because my hot flashes keep me warm enough, thank you very much. We laughed at old times and then I ran to a restaurant to hug my “Kerri and Keri”. In ten minutes we got caught up and laughed, then I went to my moms. I sat with my parents and enjoyed just being with them. I walked over to my old beach house and got to hug everyone I grew up with. I had a feeling all of the families would be out, and they were. The vicaris, the Mone boys, the giordano’s, the Milsoms. These people were my summer families, and it felt great to see them all, and their children all hanging out with each other doing the same things we did.
I went home and swam a bit with rob, ate dinner, took my last chemo pills for this cycle and then headed back to the beach. We saw Chinese lanterns being sent off to the sky for a woman who passed recently, lots of fireworks, and laughed a lot.
We listened to music and played name that song. We realized we had great music growing up. I missed my kids but had Laurie’s daughter hanging out with me teaching me tricks for my phone. She is just like Morgan, and it made me feel better. My dad even came over and we laughed.
It was a perfect night. I wanted to be surrounded by people who I love and love me back.
That’s what heals you.
Even if it doesn’t heal the cancer, it heals the heart and soul. Find your tribe, and stay with them. Stay away from those who don’t make you feel like your life is precious to them.
Because I’m telling you… it is.
Every damn second.
I saw my sister in full police officer action yesterday. A three year old girl drowned at the local beach, and Jill was running point and coordinating the rescue effort. Friends posted on social media that they saw eight or nine cops book down the beach to get this little girl, and one Facebook post said that every kid on the beach saw heroes in real life. I knew from Jill’s face it was serious, and anytime there is a child involved, the officers always have a more heightened awareness, especially if they have children of their own. The little girl will be ok, and for a day or so, everyone who was there and witnessed the rescue will hold onto life a little tighter.
But then the inevitable will happen and they will begin to take it for granted.
Every day I’m faced with drowning or swimming. Some days I struggle to breathe underwater, some days I float and rest, and some days I swim.
Life is a verb for me.
It’s a noun, too, as it’s a precious gift I’ve been given.
But it’s also a verb, an action.
A series of actions that make a story.
A story that will continue for years to come.
My support groups have had several members pass away in the past two days. One was the administrator for the Xeloda support group page. Stage four needs more research and funding… now.
So today, remember that life is for living. Be around people who value your life and your heart and your spirit. Be with your tribe.
Even if you just float on your back and look at the sky.
And if you find yourself alone, know that I’m here with you, floating and breathing and swimming to shore. Hold on. We’ll make it together.
In Jesus’s name, amen.