I love the movie “Hook.” In it, a grown-up Peter Pan, now a mergers and acquisitions heavyweight, has to save his kids from Captain Hook. Through the story, he learns that just being with his family and living each day as a gift was the greatest adventure. One of the last lines in the movie is “To live is the greatest adventure.”
I think about that a lot these days. I was hurrying through airports every week for most of the last year, running around on “very important business.” September came, with trips around the country every week. My dad died at the end of September and I couldn’t even take time to stand still as I jetted off to Los Angeles the day after the funeral. I did, however, take time for my annual physical in the middle of October and then … time stood still and so did I.
The exam started out as they all did – discussing my being tired right down to the bone, trying to convince my doc to order 2 weeks off, since I hadn’t had a day off in 4 years. And then came the words no one ever wants to hear: “Did you know you have a lump?”
Come on - a lump? After losing a husband to ALS, going through a major career change, breaking my neck falling over my dog and my lower back falling out of a hotel shuttle – surely this was a joke. I wasn’t due for another catastrophe for at least 6 months! But no, it was as we feared – cancer.
Thus began my 9-month journey to learn that just living every day is enough, that being in the minute, not being so worried about everybody else and their problems was actually a good thing and that the things I was so worried about really didn’t matter.
Along the way, I’ve finally learned how to take care of myself, which I’ve never done before. I’ve learned that everyone has friends they never knew they had and that those you knew you had can’t cope with their go-to person needing a go-to person. But that’s ok — I’ve learned we all view other’s lives through our own and we can’t ever truly know what someone else is going through.
There have been bigger surprises as well. I didn’t know I was so attached to my hair. I’ve always joked about needing to shave it all off and start over; it’s really thick and curly naturally and who knows what the real color was? Before I started coloring it, it was blond or auburn. Well, I’m finding out these days that the natural color is black – BLACK. I’ve never had black hair before. And, of course, there are those pesky streaks of white that I hate seeing.
I didn’t realize how lonely cancer can be. You always see stories of people with cancer having lots of people around, supporting them and I’ve certainly had tons of that. But at the end of the day, it’s still you they’re pouring deadly chemicals into. It’s you whose life is impacted in ways you can never imagine. It’s you who goes to bed each night with your own mortality.
I bring all this up because tomorrow, June 15, I’m going in for my (hopefully) last surgery to rebuild what’s left of this tattered body. It’s supposed to be a relatively simple procedure, but after 3 surgeries and chemo since November, every needle stick is a major event.
While I”m recuperating, I haven’t left you in the lurch – I’ve written a bunch of blog posts that my trusty sidekick, Suzie from Ace Concierge, will be posting. Lots of fun summer tips and product comparisons that I hope you’ll enjoy.
I’ll be back hopefully in a week or so. In the meantime, don’t take things so seriously. Just living each day is an adventure few take advantage of – it’s the greatest adventure.