“Let the cards fall where they may. There is no way we can control some things and there is no sense in trying. I must accept the hand I have been dealt and make the best use of it I can.”
Clarity. Today, I have more clarity. Even the sky is more clear. The wind is high. It sweeps the pollen haze from the trees whose colour is erupting under the light of the sun. That’s how I feel. At least, that’s how I feel right now.
Grateful. I am so very grateful. Once again, I am left with enough grace to stand on the bright side of life.
“How are you always on, Stacey?” my sister-in-law asked me last night. “You are always – on. I suppose you have to for your family, your kids. I thought you were putting on a front at first, but now I don’t think that’s the case.”
And it’s not the case. There is no front. For some reason, I am able to be positive. I have no idea why.
“I wish I knew why”, I responded. “It would be a good teachable moment if I knew. I guess I’m just lucky. I see all the wonderful things I have before I see the things I don’t.”
Is that it? Is that how to lead a happy life?
Is being happy a choice I make? I think so.
Is being happy a choice that is in my control? I think so too – unless it’s day 5! (grin)
I have not felt that I ever “settled” for second best. I believe I have the best life, family, friends, circumstances.
“You are strong, Stacey”, I have heard others say. I didn’t buy into that at first. I wasn’t strong. I was weak and I needed others to be strong for me. I surrounded myself with people who were positive and supportive and upbeat. They carried me. In fact, they still carry me. I need my community. I cannot do this on my own.
I now feel I am courageous. To face and fight cancer twice takes a lot more courage than facing and fight once. I cannot imagine how tough it will be to face it thrice, or four times. But – I will. It is in my genes. I will accept those awards of courage now. Second time round is tough. It is tough to go back into chemo, to lose my hair, feel like shit, isolate myself, and hold onto hope … when I know what it takes to do so. It is tough. I am tough. I am not alone.
One of the most difficult parts of this second battle is that my veins have now sclerosed and are hard to the touch. It is difficult to get a needle into them for chemo or bloodwork, so, next week I am scheduled to get a port-o-cath (I think that’s the name) which is surgically implanted under my skin. That’s cool. But, it seems that it will be a permanent reminder that I am diseased. If I thought it was coming out – I’d be better with it. I’ll experience a lot of relief with it and no more poking and prodding – but it will become “me”.
THE most difficult part about this past week was telling the kids I have the BRCA2 gene. That means they have a 50% chance of getting this gene. Imagine – passing along something so terribly awful to your children? Anything, anything.. but that, please. I can’t even write about it yet, other than take comfort in knowing they will be tested and tracked so they will never get to this point where I’m at. Imagine – how did that even happen – stage 4? Who did I get it from? It is inherited. Was it Mom? Was it Dad? There is not a lot of family evidence I have to draw from to know. I know, though, that I have an obligation to find out. This knowledge will save someone else’s life.
The cards that I have been dealt are mine to play. It is my hand. It is neither good nor bad. It is my attitude which makes the difference. While I have clarity, I can play my hand well. And I intend to “trump” the challenges that face me today.