Cancerversary – I’ve learned

The chalk slides against the board as I finish the warm up writing prompt: “If you died today, what would you leave in the world as proof you existed?”

Usually, I go for the whimsical or mundane journaling, but today the seniors asked for a more serious topic. I obliged, and it doesn’t help that I’m already thinking in this direction. My chemo (last day of chemo March 14th) and cancer-versary (date of clear CT scan – March 27th) is coming up this month, and I’m struggling to pinpoint the emotions coursing through me.

Every scar has healed and becomes more faded with each day. “The Infusion Clinic” is no longer on my favorites for speed dial. Snow days are joyous occasions for cancelled school and making pancakes with my son instead of nerve racking as it may delay treatment. The strands on my head are pulled back by a thin gold glittered band instead of an over-washed lace gray cap covering my once smooth head.

Most everything has become a new “normal” except one; my eyes will not revert.

I cannot see the world the same way I did before the death word “cancer” fell off of lips and parasitically attached to my name – the name my parents chose with my first breath. But, as all things, I try to use this as a learning experience in hopes that one day, this period of my life holds no more power than an anecdote. So here it is:

I’ve learned…

     to love outwardly as much as possible – so people don’t need to guess my intentions           when I’m gone

          to say “thank you” – and mean it with every healthy and unhealthy cell

     to jump in with both feet into the evaporating puddle of life

to embrace the parts of myself I locked away and claimed adolescent

to apologize and forgive quickly

to not apologize when I don’t mean it

to do the things I said I would do “someday” today

to grab the bull of cancer by its sharp horns and, with faith, look into its irises and             triumphantly shout

You will NOT take me

You will not TAKE me

You will not take ME

                                                                    . 

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