I can picture that photo being at my funeral. It’s so full of life and love. And pure joy. I did achieve pure joy on this planet.
The sky is so blue … the sun is so golden … And I love that moment with Carly, my chocolate lab mix.
Today is Day 2 of Chemo 2 and I have already crafted a plan to ask Dr. F to increase my chemo dose by 5% … why? They dropped my dose dense 20% lower than Chemo 1. When I asked about effectiveness, her eyes slid for a split second. Remember – I am a trained killer sales professional – and I can read faces …
She said that many people in the clinical trial had to have their doses dropped. Okay … does that mean I am the 1 out of 10? The unlucky ONE?
I asked her to up the dose, but didn’t have my convincing research compiled. I needed time to think.
After I saw my Oncologist, I had an appointment to see a Genetics Counsellor. Because of my Triple Negative Breast Cancer diagnosis, there is a 20% chance I carry a BRCA1/2 gene mutation. The genetics test is optional but free for me under the age of 60. While my chances are very, very low, I requested the test so I can know for sure. If I am BRCA1/2 – (negative), then I know. If I am BRCA1/2 + (positive), I have decisions to make. The ovaries come out for sure (more surgery) – the breasts might have to be bionic’d. I have a 20% higher chance to get leukemia, 2% higher chance of pancreatic cancer. And my son – if he got my gene mutation – has a higher risk to have aggressive prostate cancer.
My bloodwork is shipped off to a special lab and it will take two months before I hear the diagnosis. If I am BRCA1/2 – (negative), the lab will do further testing on newly emerging gene mutations … BRCA3/4 if you need a name. And I can come back in five years and ask if there are new genes or mutations and if my panel can be updated.
I reached out to my cousins to complete the family “cancer tree” so we can all have a clear picture. I will share my BRCA status with my family, although we will not know which side of the family it resides in.
The point is … I am playing a numbers game. Even with chemo, I go from 40% chance of death in two years to 20% chance of death in two years. That’s usually an optimized number, so perhaps my number slides to the right as I lower the dose density.
I know Terri has a long, suffering, cross-yourself, laugh, point, eyes-wide-in-shock and awe eulogy task ahead of her. I’ve given her all the photos that won’t make it into the hardcopy but they could find their way tucked in among my smiles on the Memory Board. Yes, Sherri did actually take a potty picture. Yes, there are more than 2 cups of boob shots. With doctors. Tattoos. Incisions. Scar. Needle aspiration of fluid sac. Pictures of … art. I starred in Andew’s* video once. Nudes.
“Here, touch this …” I say as I guide my doctor’s hand to my breast. He is the man who is in charge of me while I am admitted to the hospital. And he’s cute in a ruggedly dark way. We got photos.
While I was in the hospital in the Oncology Ward, one of my neighbours had to be revived. I was (thankfully) the youngest – and most amazing – patient on the floor. It got weird in a Wizard of Oz kind of way. I had to walk by elderly people in comas. I got to hear and see the cries of old patients who had no clue why they were being tortured with chemo and radiation. It broke my heart.
I don’t want to go through a second round of this. I will revise my will to have not just a DNR (do not revive) clause, but also a DNT (do not treat) for after a certain age. My heart can only take so much of the chemo. I’ve raised my risk of getting a NEW cancer just because of the treatment … 40%. The chemo was the lesser of two evils.
I have to think about when is my time. Have I done what I wanted to do in this lifetime? No. I want to see Matthew grow older in health, financially secure, happily married and a father. I want to complete my spiritual journey. I want to write about it. I want true love.
What’s on my bucket list? I’ve been so busy living, working, partying, parenting and chasing men. Did I paint that masterpiece? Save someone from cancer? Write a book? Where or how to have sex ……? Where did I travel with Matthew? What wonders did I photograph? Did I make a difference?
I had to clean up my will. Get some legal and financial advice. Plan for the worst and hope for the best.
And I wonder who will be at my funeral? All of you? I have family & friends around the world from the most lovely of pockets of life; childhood, schools and university, different jobs, twopeas, baseball and animal rescue … I could list dozens and dozens of my favourite tribes. People I love to talk with, even if it is via a keypad.
And what will you say? She was a firecracker! She was my best friend. She was cray cray. She was kind and generous. She was funny! She was a bitch (c’mon … you know you wanna!). She was gracious and full of grace.
It HAS to be a big party – hopefully Ilse of Tamin’ Thunder can sing. And of course, Mark Joseph Band! Loads of photos of me doing crazy things with my crazy girlfriends! And just being me. I want lots of food and lots of booze flowing with the music. Celebrate! And make sure my kid and dogs are well taken care of.
I liked life but I haven’t shown it enough love. And that changes for whatever time is left.
So go … do your will and your bucket list. And live all of your life. Make amends. Make peace. Make love. When is your number up?
I took my dogs for a walk on this lovely evening … and exclaimed “Oh! What a beautiful evening!” Everyday can be beautiful.
Be with the ones you love. And take selfies with them.
And don’t waste time. It’s more precious than life.
Thanks for being there for me,
Wig: Linda by Jon Reneau in 1BRH30
P.S. Hey folks, this is not a swan dive. This is just doing a little forward thinking. I try to live most of my days in the present, but I do have to consider the future and plan. I have a business mind, and I know I can’t walk blindly into tomorrow. Or have Matt fall into it. It’s sadly something we all have to consider. I bet I made you cry & think!
*Name(s) changed to protect the guilty.