This time last year I was planning my own funeral. Seriously. Things were looking so bad with my cancer at that point (mets in my brain, lungs, and hip bone after spreading from the lymph nodes in my neck), and what we had hoped would be a wonder drug, ipilimumab, just seemed to make my cancer grow faster and reach farther. I was in a good place spiritually and I honestly felt a peace about death. I truly believed that it was my time to go and acceptance came very naturally and with that came some of the “housekeeping” that comes along with this: I bought a burial plot, was storing up letters and gifts for my kids, I was planning a crazy, over-the-top Christmas for us under the assumption it would be the last one I spend with my family, and I was planning some of the logistics of my funeral. I’m not saying this was easy, I mourned of course for things I would miss with my family, but I never stopped trusting in God’s bigger plan for this. Even if His plan included what I considered dying young.
And here I am a year later. Having lived about 9 months past my prognosis and having just had a perfect PET scan that shows I’m having a complete response to the chemo that I received about 20 treatments of, Keytruda. Complete response.
I’m not delusional enough to think that I’m special or deserving of this. I am well aware of people who have been recently diagnosed, or restaged for the worse, or who have lost their battle with this horrible cancer. I know that my result isn’t what always happens. It’s a helpless feeling, truly. I knew that my healing may come in the form of death, and this still may be the case (I will still get scans every 3 months and my prognosis is just a big old question mark at this point) as I am still stage 4 and this cancer is a wild card. But for the first time in a long time, I don’t feel…cancery.
As I drove home from Philly today, a song came on the radio and the weight of all of this really settled in for the first time. Overwhelmed by Big Daddy Weave. Click the blue link to give it a listen. I’ve heard this song 1,000 times but today I really got it and I truly was overwhelmed with gratitude. To God, to my doctors, to my friends and family, to all of you who are so kind and encouraging.
Ok sorry, it sounds like I’m accepting an award here or something, but I’m genuinely, for the first time in 2 very long years, able to think ahead a little. To plan a little. I feel like there’s a chance of making it. Of doing the things I had completely cut out any chance of. I had shut the door on being here to experience so much: homeschooling, seeing the kids do sports or activities, experiencing my children’s baptisms and weddings, seeing any more anniversaries with my husband, and so much more.
It’s exciting and scary and overwhelming. It’s living. I’m just really really happy right now…
Can’t wait for next year!!