Today’s a big day for me. Later this afternoon, I go to the oncologist and start chemotherapy again, this time in pill form. I haven’t had a chemo treatment of any type since 30 December 2007, and I honestly haven’t missed it.
I’ve done so much in that time — and yet so little, it seems. My to-do list, like yours, is a mile long, and I don’t have my book finished or my children raised or even a thriving vegetable garden to show for the extra two and a half years that I’ve been given as a direct result of the horribleness that is chemo. I’m grateful for the progress I’ve made on all of these, sure, but I’d just like to FINISH something now. I go round and round like this, often, just like you probably do, but I always end up with the complaint: It’s not FAIR. I don’t have another 50 years to finish things up. And then my husband reminds me: You don’t know that. None of us know that. None of us know whether we have time to reach all our goals. Any of us could live to 100, or be hit by a bus tomorrow.
He’s right, of course. I know that. I have just what you do: TODAY.
And so, today, the day I (probably) start chemo again, is a mix of the mundane and the magical. The mundane: laundry. The magical: reading to my children for an hour this morning about warriors, kings, conquerers, and prophets, as they sat, spell-bound, finding heroes beyond firefighters, Spiderman, and the Star Wars clan that pop culture and I have given them while they are very young. But oh, how much more inspiring are the kings of old, who fought mighty foes and set up good governments, making “newly conquered subjects into supporters” by “promoting human rights and allowing freedom.” *
We must read more of these stories. The stories that are lives. Lives that are lived one day at a time, just like ours are, and where little decisions become big decisions become battles that can be conquered.
Today, we will go to the oncologist to learn whether I am strong enough to start chemo this afternoon. And then, we will come home, put on pajamas, and I will take the four little pills that start Chemo 2010. We will cuddle and watch Milo and Otis, Build It Bigger, or Tom and Jerry together. We will make the little decision to start Chemo. The big decision to fight the remnant cancer that lurks in my body (essentially, the tumors are gone, but we know the cancer cells escaped from each of the 13 cancer-filled lymph nodes, and so it’s time to kill them whereever they lurk). And, after taking several weeks to recover from the last battle (radiation), to speak about surviving cancer and to spend time with friends at BlogHer ’10, and to fully prepare with my family around me, we will march forward to fight this new battle in our own personal War against cancer.
I will teach my children to be warriors, kind and gentle warriors who care about all they meet, but warriors nonetheless. I will tell them stories of warriors of old, and I will show them how to fight battles with both strength and compassion. Today, we will begin again our fight against cancer — and we will set out on this battle fully armed, four little pills at a time.