I’ve always wanted to drive a Range Rover. It was part of my vision, my plan for life. In this dream version of myself I’m driving this shiny car, picking up my adorable children from some fancy school and for some reason my thighs are always tone and gleaming in the sun. In this life I had planned, I’m married to my gorgeous husband and we spend all our time being fabulous and attending charity events, rubbing elbows with the “who’s who” in town. There’s also a lot of slow running and whipping my hair in the wind.
Cancer has a way of blasting a harsh light on the blurry dreamed up world you have planned. Cancer makes you look reality straight in the eye. It also makes you re-think the version of life you may have hoped for and see the life you’ve been given, good and bad.
In this real life, I don’t have a fancy car. However, I am happy I’ve been remembering to make car payments. I took over the bills 2 months ago as Joe has been in the hospital and recovering. I hate numbers and I hate bills, but I’ve been pretty proud of how self-sufficient I can be when I have to.
My husband is still gorgeous, so I got that part of life right. Lately, it’s been hard to convince him though. Cancer is not a young man’s disease. We should be deep in the passions of lust and love but instead we’re sleeping with pillows propped between us and up every few hours to give meds and change out IV fluids. To take a strong, athletic guy and strip him of the person he used to see in the mirror is a hard fall to bounce back from. Joe no longer has a belly button. It seems like a trivial part of our bodies, with really little use but when you suddenly take it away…you realize you were actually quite fond of the little guy. He has lost 50 pounds since surgery and is swimming in the clothes we packed for him here in Houston. I catch him staring at himself in the mirror looking stunned at the stranger staring back.
But before you feel too sorry for him, don’t you think it’s rude for the husband to lose weight while his pregnant wife seems to be picking it up just as fast as he’s dropping it? Men, so typical.
We definitely aren’t attending galas and charity events in sparkly gowns and writing big checks, but instead have found ourselves on the other side of the giving. It is honestly nothing you can ever imagine. There’s the part of you who is thankful and moved to tears at the love and generosity, but there’s also the part of you who can’t believe this is your life. It’s slightly embarrassing and overwhelming knowing you’ll never be able to pay all of these people back.
As we’ve been on this journey, we all hit a low point. We call it having a “moment”. A time of self pity and anger. This is when you want to yell, “This isn’t fair! Why me?” Once you get it out, you actually feel much better and I always find myself with a change of heart.
“I am really lucky”, I tell myself, “We are very lucky.”
We just left the hospital for a quick trip for blood work and you see it all around you. I dare anyone to spend a few hours at the hospital and not feel very appreciative of all you have. Even my sweet Joe, who is struggling on his own feels thankful as he watches parents pushing their sick children in wheelchairs and he says, “It could be much worse.”
We are truly blessed, because we get it. I turn 30 in just 2 weeks and I get it. That is a gift. It’s something people chase their whole lives.
I know people who create conflict in their own lives just to give it some entertainment. They complain and stress about things that don’t really matter. They may be so stuck in the “dream version” of the life they want, they aren’t seeing what’s happening around them.
Today, I want life. I want to see Joe walk straight up without hurting from the strain of his incision. I want to sit on our patio and light the tiki torches with a little baby in a bouncy seat. I don’t care if I rent forever or always have a car payment. And if my thighs are a little bigger then planned I’ll simply take pictures waist up. (There are ways to work around these issues). 🙂
This is far from what we had planned but we aren’t taking it for granted. Because of that, I’m thankful this year we may have the chance to go home and live OUR little life. It’s really better then anything I could have ever dreamed up.