Thursday, 24 September 2015

21 Years.. We Did It!

21 years..   Wow.  

A day that could have been the end of everything, turns into a 2nd chance and many new adventures.  Not always the journey I'd envisioned, or even hoped for -- but rarely boring.  

When I think of all the things I'd have missed out on had I lost, instead of won ~ the list is long.  When I look around to all of the wonderful people I've had the chance to meet, work with, and get to know it is hard to feel anything but an abundance of gratitude.  

Not every road travelled lead to somewhere I wanted to be,  not every choice made looked as great in hindsight but at least I was here to make the journey.  The last couple of years have been some of the biggest trials of my life, but they've also held some of the biggest joys.  It's not always easy to remember that the down times make us enjoy the good times more,  but I try..   

I find myself thinking about Dad today.  It was always our ritual that I'd call him and tell him we made it another year.  We'd chat about how far we'd come since that first day.  I'd tease him that the nurses thought Auntie Eileen (his sister) was my Mom because they'd come in together...  we'd congratulate each other for putting up with each other for another year and most importantly, we'd laugh.  Oh how I miss that laugh.  

I wish I still had the photo of Dad wearing my chemo wig. I'd left some photos with a family member to scan for me and they were lost.  That particular photo was always a fond memory for me.  I so didn't want to wear the itchy scratchy thing that day and Dad ordered me to give it to him, and he put it on his own head.  I will never forget it as long as we live.  My sister and I showed that picture to everyone.  A few of Dad's friends were all ready to ask for a date til they saw the handlebar moustache and the cigar in his hand and realized it was Dad..    LOL funny the memories that stick with you strongest..  <3 

Today I choose to be grateful for the journey, and for being spared when so many around us are being taken by this vicious disease.  Today, I choose to focus on how far we've come and overcome and where we've yet to go.  I'm nowhere near done yet!! 

It hardly seems that long ago that I was sitting in scrubs, sexy socks and hospital hat waiting to be whisked away into the unknown. I was newly single, and writing what essentially amounted to Goodbye letters to friends and family,  I'd even penned somewhat of a journal entry to myself chastising myself for everything I hadn't accomplished yet.  With just 3 little words, a doctor stopped my world in its tracks.  "We found something".  It was the first of a few times a doctor would tell me that there'd been complications and I'd almost died.  I have often wondered since why it was that I was spared when so many others have been taken.  I have to believe that someone up there has a plan, even if it doesn't always make sense to me. 

Oddly, all these years later I still find myself looking at all the great things that came from my having had cancer.  As I type it the phrase still sounds weird to me, but it's true.  Starting out with the gleaning of fair-weather family and friends who couldn't bring themselves to visit or care, which wasn't particularly endearing at the time yet turned out to be one of the biggest blessings of them all.  I think of the friends who stepped up, stepped in and reminded me that I wasn't as alone as I felt. The Cancer Society had a volunteer that called to check in every couple of weeks, and the Masons would come and take me to appointments when my Dad couldn't.  The staff of the 5th floor unit of the BC Cancer Agency were always so friendly and caring.  I don't think I ever saw a grumpy nurse there!  I only hope they know what a difference they made. Each and every one of them!!

There was a time when I didn't think I'd ever have a husband, a home, or kids; I had become discouraged with med issues, life hurdles and other road blocks and felt "stuck" in so many ways.  You'd never know it now!  

Fast forward and here I am having celebrated 19 years with the love of my life this past summer, as well as 10 years in our own home.  I never did get to have a child "of my own"' but I did that the express pleasure of being a custodial stepmom to 3 wonderful kids that I am proud to call OURS.  I never dreamed I'd be a Grandma, and now I have two beautiful, amazing grandchildren too.  

This morning I sent my granddaughter off to school with a Toonie for Terry to donate at her school.  We talked a little bit about who Terry Fox was, and how much the money her school is raising will help people.   I told her that if it weren't for ongoing learning about cancer, and raising money that Grandma might not be here today.  I told her Grandma was very lucky to be here.  She smiled and said me too.   Gawd I love that kid. <3  You just never know what's going to come out of her mouth.  

Not unlike her little brother who yesterday morning tiped his bowl of dry cereal all over the floor and then looked me straight in the face and said "Oh well!"  He's just 17 months old and just starting to talk up a storm.  Little bums!  Good thing they're CUTE!  :) 

They say all good things come to he who waits.  I'd always quipped back about that phrase including "Old age",  these days I'm not waiting for it to come ~  I'm running out get it! 

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