One Step Beyond
At first I hated that word and avoided using it at all costs. ‘Terminal’ cancer. It’s so damn final and hopeless. No more stages, no more stops. Game over. I thought just saying it would confirm its inevitability and seal my fate. So, until very recently, I said ‘Stage 4’ instead. It seemed to offer future stages and leave part of me dangling in denial about how gravely ill I really am. But I have come to terms with it now and use the word quite liberally. It takes the wind out of its sails.
No one knows when they’re going to die and I refuse to live as if I do. My life force, which dwindled daily in the weeks after my diagnosis (as if the knowledge itself was killing me), has returned – in some ways stronger than before I was ill. I’ll post about how that change happened sometime soon, but today I’m simply rejoicing in the fact that it did and that I did it. There is nothing like a ‘terminal’ illness to show you what you are made of – a surprisingly palatable concoction in my case, which is rather thrilling since I wasn’t so keen before. But being told you’re going to die is a great turbo charge for self-esteem. You either value yourself, boldly and unreservedly, or you start saying your goodbyes.
The only goodbyes I have said so far were to my beloved husband and 4 year old daughter this morning, whom I have never left for more than a few days and am now leaving for three whole weeks. I already ache with missing her, but need to focus 100% on my treatments so I can be here for her as long as possible. I am carrying the smell of her in my pocket as I embark on the next stage of my journey. This train has not yet terminated. God speed!