Today during my meditation I broke down in tears. The realization that Wednesday is my last treatment hit me hard. It wasn't fear that made me cry though; it was gratitude. As I sat trying to quiet my mind, a thought came to me. How many people get a second chance in life? A chance to hit the 'do over' button and start anew. I've made mistakes in my life. I've been thoughtless and cruel, reckless and selfish. And, yes, everyone makes mistakes but most people move through their lives so quickly they often don't give their actions much thought. This year, I had nothing but time to think.
One night, about a month ago, I was suffering from major insomnia. It was 3:00 AM and I was feeling restless with no hope of sleep anytime soon. With everyone asleep and the house in total silence, I walked into my bathroom and locked the door. I stood in front of the mirror staring at myself for what felt like an eternity. I began to pray. I gave thanks for all I have learned since my diagnosis. The change in my approach to life, the strengthening of my relationships, the outpouring of love I have received; these have all been such amazing gifts. To truly love someone and to be open enough to accept someone else's love is the most incredible feeling in the world. I've never been more vulnerable yet felt so safe. I did have one request; now I need time. I prayed for more time to spend with those I love, time to dig deeper within myself so I can continue to grow, time to fully appreciate the life I've been given. A week later my scan results came back clear. I remember leaving Sloan and heading straight to St. Pat's where I knelt and cried and said thank you over and over again.
While I am thrilled by the latest test results and ending treatment is a dream come true, I'm not delusional. I know the rate of re-occurrence for late stage cancer is extremely high. I've met many people who thought they were done, only to have it come back again. But I refuse to live in fear or be angry about my situation. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.” I like the notion of breaking life down into minutes; it makes it seem longer. When you go through something that makes you realize our time here is finite, you want to make every moment count.Will you choose happiness or lose sixty seconds to anger? In one year there are 525,600 minutes. How will you spend yours?