Thursday, March 06, 2008

Now is never too late

So its been two years since I watched Steven swallow again and again as we heard those awful words spoken out loud as a definate - "you have leukemia". This past week or ten days, so many memories and thoughts have come back from that time and at times some of the emotions have been as real as they were two years ago and I find my throat catching and eyes threatening to water up. But mostly I am surprised. I am surprised that a whole two years have passed and I am surprised that only two years have passed. And I am surprised that even with cancer in the family - we are all still in one piece, happy and healthy and more complete than we could have imagined possible and possibly more so had this not happened.

It's been a lifetime in so many ways. And again, I can only talk from my personal feelings as 'freaky mama'. Yes, two years ago Steven had just moved out of the house, Frank and I were sole residents at this address and planning a quick trip to the beach to catch some sunshine. We felt good that everything was going so well, so smoothly and life was definately a good thing to be doing. Yup, almost smug. And then the hand rocked the boat and life changed dramatically.

After two years, and bearing in mind that Steven is doing so incredibly well, I have to admit that my life is much richer, much deeper and filled with truely amazing people that I would never have known if this had not happened to Steven. Am I glad? No. A resounding no. And I would give it all back and undo the leukemia if I could. But we all know that no matter how big and fierce and scary I act at times, that's not within my abilities. And the thought skirts around my mind that if cml was gone, would there be something else? And if there were something else, would we be where we are today? Would we be able to be as well and happy and thankful as we all are right this very day? I think not.

So - am I thankful? Yes. I am incredibly thankful that despite my son, this incredible man, having cancer, I am happy and able to carry on with my life too. I am thankful for the many, many emails and phone calls I have had in support of both Steven and me and my family. I am thankful for the richness of (and in) my life, for the people, experiences and love. But most of all - MOST of all, I am incredibly thankful that Steven is doing so well on his Gleevec, that he looks good, feels good and is going right on with his life. I love seeing how he has grown, how he is dealing with this. I love hearing his dreams and wishes, plans and wants and I especially love when they are not tinged with cml in his mind!

And so, on the day of the second year since diagnosis we all breath easy, smile, wonder at the past years and look forward to the next 80! I am not sure that I like the term "cancerversary" and not even sure I like the word "anniversary" when relating to this, but how does one explain it? We cannot ignore the date, the day or the diagnosis. It's not really just a date either, but a week run-up, a week or 10 days of not knowing which was almost worse. But somehow we have to mark it's coming and going too. No cake this year, no celebration, just dinner together with a deep, deeeeep appreciation.

And maybe that's the way to mark the passing of another year of survival - to really just live life to the fullest, to do as Steven does - just move right on with life absorbing the good with the bad. To make that commitment again to look for the joy in every day and appreciate those that are in our lives right now. We never know how our lives are going to change in the next day, with the next phone call or even in the next minute. Now is never too late.

Survival is not just what the person who has the cancer or disease does, it's a joint project and also one that each of us around Steven has done. Firstly and obviously Steven survived - not only two years, but what must have been raging storms of emotions, the telling of friends, the adjusting to new things and feelings and fears, just to mention a few of the more surface things. And then - so did all of us around him too - Laura, me, Frank, his sisters, family and his friends. We all survived the horror of the diagnosis, the pain, the anguish and the adjustments. We all survived! And we are all stronger now too. What a thought.

I hope that in some way I can take the love and light, joy and happiness and relief and hope that I have been shown and given in these two years, and feed it back into the universe, into the general well-being of the world -somehow.

My world is a better place today. Two years ago I would never have dreamed being able to say that. One never knows, one just never knows.........

Steven has done an incredible job of teaching us all how to deal with his cancer. He has been the strongest example I know of just getting on with life despite collecting this lemon along the way. He has taught me so much these past two years, led me by his example and even laughed at me and my worry - this is a good thing. It's all so good and I am so incredibly fortunate to have this young man in my life. How could I possibly thank him enough for allowing me to be a part of this journey so that I can understand, work through it all and get to where I am right now on the worry-chart?

Steven, I love you more than you know - always will.

Love and light


Anonymous said...


YOu have a wonderful way of being so real and truly sharing your own thoughts and feelings throughout life. You are certainly not "freaky momma" you are loving and caring Annie who adores her son.

I can hear the growth in your writing and in your heart. YOu have survived 2 years and you both will survive many many more.

Thank you for being a friend and supporter to so many others who are dealing with cancer and lifes challenges. YOu make a difference in this world!

DutchPower said...

Happy Cancerversary! I liked reading through you blog a lot. Gives me a bit of perspective as to how my mom might be thinking about me having CML. Thanks!