I never dreamt of writing a post about my Fifth Cancerversary. Never dreamt of writing about anything – period – five years after my 2012 Stage 4 lung cancer diagnosis in which an oncologist gave me 8 months to live without treatment, 11 months to a year with treatment. So on the first minute of the first day of this June, my cancerversary month, I fantasized about backhanding that onc across the jaw if he were still alive. He absolutely had no business telling me or anyone with cancer about expiration date. Fortunately, wholesome productive thoughts stopped my fantasy of vindictivess dead on its tracks.
Most people reckon their cancerversary dates from the date of diagnosis. Not me. I am non-conformist extraordinaire. I had established my cancerversary month – notice month not day – based on the month my cancer journey began. It was June 2012. I remember it very vividly. I had a cough that did not seem to quit. I blamed LA’s smog, the airborne dust caused by landscape men constantly turning the soil in the retirement resort, the red grease floating in the bowl of Mexican menudo. As fate would have it, in late May of 2012, a judge in Albuquerque summoned me to show up for jury duty, or else. I had no choice but to tuck my tail and comply with the judge’s order. Something about the “Or Else” stuff from a judge that sends me on flight mode every time.
First thing this June 1st, ideas whirred in my head. What does Fifth Cancerversary mean to me? It means beating the odds and the thunderous call for celebration! Being a self-proclaimed hedonist (“Hedonista”), I immediately considered throwing a bacchanalian party to celebrate life. I’d rent a place, invite family, friends, fans and followers and we’d all gorge ourselves on oysters on the half shell, crab legs, prime rib, rack of lamb, potatoes, pastas and salads of all sorts. And of course desserts. I’d hire a DJ to play music, rock the place, and work off the gluttons’ calories.
But my Inner Altruist (“Altruista”) intervened. A heated discussion transpired between Altruista and Hedonista. Haven’t you heard of “a cause greater than yourself?” asked Altruista, contempt dripping from her voice. Hedonista raised her eyebrows and broke into laughter. Greater than me? There’s no such thing!
Altruista persevered. She changed her demeanor from contemptuous to sympathetic. She knew she was dealing with a drama queen. Altruista explained to Hedonista that second chances go to people who pay forward and help others. Hedonista interjected, I thought I was already doing that with my blog! One famous blogger told me that my blog is my purpose. Altruista went farther to penetrate Hedonista’s dense head. Finally Hedonista saw the light. Her eyes widened. Got it! she exclaimed: You want me to pursue a life of “blogging plus.” Altruista clapped her hands and did a happy dance. I’d been transformed!
That transformation made me feel good, so good that I felt like bursting into a karaoke. I even thought of paying my income tax early. Then it dawned on me: I need specifics. I asked Altruista, What would consist “blogging plus?” She answered, First, yank yourself out of retirement and go back to employment. The word “employment” threw me a mental block so hard that my train of do-good thoughts came to a screeching halt.
I moseyed on back to my last blog post, the one covering the CT Scan Report, the one to which many followers can relate. I re-read their comments on the post on Inspire.com and the social media. One faithful reader, also a cancer survivor, even sent me a private email and her message stood out. She wrote, “…….I was so discouraged Friday evening and then I started reading your blog posts and the cloud went away. You are an absolute delight and a tonic to all of us in this cancer journey. I can’t tell you how much I appreciated your bright outlook and good humor….”
Whoa! Had I remembered that someone would reassure me in writing that I am already doing an awesome job of serving my purpose, I would have not involved two of my multiple personalities in figuring out the contents for my Fifth Cancerversary in my blog update.
In conclusion, on this my Fifth Cancerversary, I thank every cancer patient, survivor, caregiver, their relatives and friends who read my blog and validate my service in words or in thought.