Cancer Lesson #74: Happy to be here. Happy to have Hair.
I find it hard to believe it’s been three and a half years since my last chemo. How could I have had surgery and treatment for cancer, and managed to emerge with a normal life once more?
It boggles my mind.
It’s a new kind of normal, of course. Though they’ve faded, I have scars to rival Frankenstein’s, and — like others who have gone through a bodily trauma — aches and pains I never had before.
For nearly a year, my chemo curls rowdily rioted around my face like the aftermath of a bad perm.
But I’m back to playing soccer, and last year I did a bike tour. I’ve also been known to attempt a cartwheel, usually in an ill-conceived fit of whimsy. The last one ended with me plopped on my bottom, but never mind.
Clearly neither my tumbling nor my soccer skills will ever win me a place on an Olympic team. And there are granddads (plenty of them) who zoom past me whenever I ride my bike.
The point is no one know if I’d ever be able to do any of these activities again, and I can.
That’s worth a cartwheel.
Having survived cancer, I know everything else is gravy. The icing on the cake. The cherry on the – well, you get the idea.
Being alive is a miracle, and I developed a mantra to remind me of that fact.
“Happy to be here. Happy to have hair.” I say it whenever I start to stress over something stupid. Sure, it’s not the most sophisticated phrasing, and maybe I sound a little silly.
I say it anyway because I know I’m one of the lucky ones.
I’m still here.
“Happy to be here. Happy to have hair.” I say it in memory of those who are not.
Take a moment to think of them. And take some time to enjoy the life’s extras too – the gravy, the icing, and the cherry on that sundae.
I do. Especially the sundaes.