Sunday, April 23, 2006

Diagnosis Anniversary

Five years ago (that is the big number in breast cancer years!!!) today I discovered that I had cancer. Funny thing is that I usually remember dates like that. With important anniversaries my body remembers, it alerts me. And why wouldn’t it remember this particular day, it was a very, very, very traumatic day. Different from the clean date (marked as the day of surgery, for some obscure medical reason that us neophytes aren’t privy to), the diagnosis date is the day full of fear, and doubt, and anxiety. At least on the surgery date there is a sense of doing something about it, of taking our fate into our hands and choosing life, and of fighting back. On the diagnosis date, it is all about being shocked, and powerless (in the worst sense of the word). Shocked to the point of disbelieve, of disassociation, of despair. Shocked and nothing makes sense, nothing is real, all of life is turned upside down. The kind of day where everything STOPS and you gasp for air and wonder how long you have to live.

So here is what was funny about this. Today I didn’t remember. Really, I didn’t even think about it. I got up, went for a run, even listened to Melissa Ethridge’s song about breast cancer, where she talks about fear being a docile beast because the cancer is miles and miles behind her. Had no idea what moved me to put that on. I even wondered what I might blog about today. Nothing was coming like a clear lightning bolt from the sky to write about. Then I talked to, count ‘em, 5 friends in a row on the phone. What radar they must have that they called me. But in none of these conversations did the topic of cancer come up. Not one. What did we talk about, you may ask? We talked about the future, and plans for fun and life work and what’s next. We talked about my Goddaughter, whom I saw last night, and played “Lion” with for hours. We talked about what makes us feel alive and excited. We talked about life.

I have a life. I am alive. I AM ALIVE.

Then another friend came over, and he had been forewarned that this was a big day for me, and he said, “So, this is a big day for you.” My jaw just about hit the floor. And my eyes welled up. And I gasped for air. “Oh my God.”

And I wept with gratitude for this day, this day that I didn’t know would arrive.

And I wept with gratitude that I am alive.

And I wept with gratitude that I didn’t remember that today was so special. Me who is an idiot savant around dates, didn’t remember. I was too busy. Too busy thinking about my life, about my future, about the children, to remember that I had had cancer. Cancer was so must less important than life and family and joy. Cancer was an afterthought. A second string player. A side dish. I never thought or dared to believe that this day would come. I couldn’t imagine not being plagued my the dreaded thoughts hanging out in the back room of my mind, whispering to me “What if I get sick again? What if it’s not over yet?” And while I will never be able to silence those back room tyrants with conclusive answers, I now know that those thoughts don’t get to run my life, and that is worth gold. Actually, it is worth more than gold. It is priceless. Because there is no dollar figure that can be put on equanimity and serenity and faith.

As the sun pours its full, intense, magnificent, life giving power in through my living room window, sparking the magical reds, yellows and oranges of the room into full-blown fire, I weep uncontrollably, unabashedly, unashamedly. I am alive. I am alive. I am alive!!!!


At 2:58 PM PDT, Blogger Just and only me. said...

I'm a grand daughter of a breast cancer survivor....and I'm proud to say that my Gram has been a survivor twice now....Women like you and her make me feel proud to be a women....Thank you!!!!

At 3:17 PM PDT, Blogger Alda said...

Yay you!! You are one of the most alive people I know and you've worked hard for it. So enjoy this day - and congratulations on being you and being HERE!

At 3:37 PM PDT, Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Congrats are in order to be sure! And just remember that you got here by your own strength and with the help of many people who love and cherish you.
Keep on having "Faith in the Process" we call LIFE!

Gentle blessings.

At 10:56 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wicked Good!
Darling Signy, I, for one of many, am super glad you are alive, and living fully. Thanks for the consistant inspiration, reminding me of the gifts we have(if we allow ourselves them)!!!

With Tons of Love,

At 12:51 PM PDT, Blogger Signy said...

I have a new wellspring of tears in my eyes reading these notes and feeling your love.

Getting to keep hanging with you is the best reason to keep fighting and being committed to staying ALIVE!

Thank you for your love!!!

Right back at you!

At 11:45 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wooooofrickenhoooooooo! It is SO good to read this, to feel the energy of it, of you! I applaud you for carrying the torch, for taking up the call, for teaching us ALL, to fully LIVE!!

Thank you!


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