Today a friend of mine shared that his doctor told him he had three to five years to live; a second opinion gave him a decade. It was only a few weeks ago that he learned he had stage four colorectal cancer. He’s the second friend of ours to be diagnosed with that disease, at that stage, this year. Another friend has testicular cancer. Another, possible ovarian cancer. Then there are the friends I’ve made because of my own cancer diagnosis, who have either survived or are fighting their own battles. One thing we all have in common is the shock when that diagnosis is delivered. Nobody expects it, and it turns everyone’s expected future on its head. What will that future be like? Will there be a future?
My friend with the dire deadline said Balderdash, or the equivalent. Nobody’s going to give him an expiration date. He’s getting another opinion and he’s researching alternative treatments.
He’s going to live.
His news reminded me of how fortunate I am. We found mine when it was smaller than a pea. My “survivability” was never an issue. Well, it’s at 90%, anyway. It’s scary and awful, but relatively speaking, what I’m going through is a walk in the park. In the scheme of things, I am lucky. So damn lucky.
I never asked “how long have I got?” I’ve never imagined what I would do if I only had x number of weeks/months/years to live. What I have done is tried to make the most out of every moment. Every single moment.
For me, that’s feeling joy. The sheer joy of being alive, and of feeling alive. This weekend we watched Elf and Soul, and the two movies shared that theme of joy. Take joy in the simple things that are too easy to take for granted, like spinning a revolving door as fast as you can, or watching a helicopter seed pod as it twirls to the ground.
When I put on today’s wig, with its flamboyant yellow curls cascading down my back, and my go-to dress-up dress, I felt joy. It didn’t hurt that Jim created another ridiculous character that couldn’t help but make me giggle.
Nobody’s guaranteed any amount of time. Make the most of it. Feel joy. Laugh. Love. LIVE!