I have been chuckling to myself all day today. It’s the fourth anniversary of my first breast cancer diagnosis. About a month ago I decided that I wanted to plan a celebration day. In all these four years I have not really felt like celebrating one damn thing related to cancer. I didn’t ring a bell when I was done with chemo. When my surgeon came in the morning after I had my mastectomies with her pom-pon tone asking how I felt on my first day cancer free I wanted to kick her in the teeth, except moving made me vomit so I opted to stay in the bed and scowl. When radiation was over, which originally was supposed to be 33 days but ended up being 41, they threw confetti on me as I left the room. I walked out and cried and cried.
Finally I feel like celebrating. I have beaten some odds still being above the ground. I asked myself what I wanted to do today that would be life-affirming, and include my family and a celebration of my body and how far I’ve traveled since that day.
I planned to wake up, go to my favorite yoga class, have Tom take pictures of me afterward doing a few poses that make me feel free and happy. Then some friends were coming in town and we were going to play and laugh and both families would eat a big Greek dinner, complete with flaming cheese. We thought maybe we would go to Dallas Blooms at the Arboretum and see the tulips. All of these things bring me joy.
Except for the Greek dinner and the family being together we are doing none of those things. It has snowed and the streets are icy. Yoga class was canceled. Dallas Blooms, even if it were open, does not sound like fun today. The friends-that-are-like-family couldn’t travel here this morning due to icy road conditions between Austin and McKinney.
The reason I think this is funny is that my life didn’t go as planned four years ago today, either. I wrote about my diagnosis and all the reasons cancer was not in my plans, or even probable. I have had other moments in life like this, too. When Grace was born 6 weeks prematurely and on a ventilator my obstetrician said, “Man plans. God laughs.”
I don’t think the Divine Mother is laughing at me. I think she is laughing with me today. Because none of these changes in plans bothers me anymore. I feel alive listening to my kids’ anticipation of sledding and to the roar of the fire. The house smells like pancakes and coffee, and pretty soon it will smell like lemon cupcakes that I hear Grace and her friend making.
Instead of going to yoga I gave myself an oil massage before my shower so my skin would feel nourished and soft. And Tom served me breakfast in bed and took the dog out first thing so I wouldn’t have to go out into the cold.
It’s not the day this woman planned, but it’s perfect nonetheless.