Last week I told John sometimes I actually go a full day lately and don’t even think about the fact that he has cancer. The new oral chemotherapy he’s on has shrunk the tumor on his groin (and presumably the ones inside him) to almost nothing and, with the exception of the fact that he moves a bit like a 90 year old man when he first gets up out of a chair until he has the chance to move around a bit, he’s experiencing fairly minimal side effects (thank you, LORD)!
It’s got me reflecting on the changes in me since this whole journey began in earnest in May. As much pain and fear as this diagnosis has caused me, I have to admit that it’s also been a true gift in a way. It’s liberated me, helped me to live in the moment (because now I understand at a whole new level that the moment is all we really have), and mellowed me out. A lot.
Last week I decided to treat John to something on his bucket list – skydiving. I called my brother Mark who’s been skydiving for years to find out what to look for and where to go in Las Vegas. I had no intention of going with John, just driving him out there and waiting safely on the ground for him to land. Then Mark said, “You have to go, Jules. It’s a once in a lifetime thing and you should share it with him.” At 15,000 feet last week, my feet dangling out of the airplane as the guy I was strapped to counted down, I had to agree with him.
John’s cancer has made me more of who I am, less judgemental, and more grounded.
Last week, I got a Facebook message from one of those “friends” I’ve never met (and they number in the thousands) but who has followed my life and journey. Here’s what her private message said, “I just have to tell you – you look amazing. May I ask…are you doing something new…a new fitness routine, a supplement or diet change…? If so, I will humbly and respectfully ask – can you share your secret with me, lol. You always look great, but I’m telling you every picture you’ve been posting, I see you and am like – damn, she looks awesome.”
As you can imagine, this certainly made my entire week. But it also got me thinking. Here’s what I told her:
First, I decided in April that I was done needing to know how much I weighed and that it never supported me when I stepped on the scale, so I got rid of it and stopped weighing myself. In fact, when I went to the doctor last week and they weighed me, I closed my eyes and told them I didn’t want to know the number, to please just write it down in the chart without telling me.
It’s been liberating for someone like me who’s always had body image issues and struggled with my weight. 2 years ago I also found an amazing woman named Carmela Ramaglia who has written a book called, “Happy Calories Don’t Count (and Neither Does Unhappy Exercise).” You can check her out here and I highly recommend her. https://www.facebook.com/HappyCaloriesDontCount
Finally, my husband was given the terminal diagnosis of Stage IV melanoma last May. That, above all else (and as strange as it may sound), is what I credit most with how good I might look in photos. That’s because I usually post photos of us doing things we love or spending time together, and in the past 5 months, I’ve come to really savor every one of those moments and not take anything for granted. So I’m not surprised I look amazing…I’m in the moment and the worries that used to be my constant companions are generally non-existent.
So here’s to the positive side of a sucky situation. I can’t say I’m happy John got cancer, but I do believe it has (and continues to) profoundly changed me for the better. And I have to be grateful for that.