attitude, blood work, cancer, cancer-free, Cancerversary, DC, forties, gratitude, happiness, hope, Listen To Your Mother, me too, medical tests, new normal, positive thinking, RAI, thyroid cancer, Washington DC
I made another new online friend yesterday. One of the perks of this Listen To Your Mother show, my latest adventure, is that people are reading and commenting on my blog; people just like me, who enjoy pouring out their thoughts on the internet with the hopes that someone will read and say, “Me, TOO!” I find it validating to connect with people who also love to write and share their stories. But there was one message this week that stands out from the rest: I got an email from a fellow cast-member yesterday who told me she looked forward to meeting me, not just because we are both moms in the show, but because we have something else in common: a history of thyroid cancer.
Those who have followed this blog know that my cancer experience was largely the impetus for me to start writing. It wasn’t too long after the surgeries that cancer started to offer new perspectives; that cancer surprisingly offered gifts and compelled me to share them. Cancer was quite pushy about it, actually. Stories and messages and lessons have been coming to me more than they ever did before, with some regularity, and with an urgency to get messages of peace and hope, gratitude and love “out there.” Thanks to cancer, I am living with a greater sense of purpose than I did before. It’s either thanks to cancer, or it’s thanks to entering my 40’s. We’ll stick to crediting cancer, so that I can maintain my positive attitude about the whole thing.
My new friend Michele wished me a “happy cancerversary” in her email. She had noticed that February 17 marked the four-year anniversary since my surgery. The funny thing is that the day had come and gone, and for the first time in four years, I hadn’t even noticed.
Time is certainly one of the great healers of all things.
As the months are turning into years, I do find myself less and less anxious about regular blood work; less worried about how my medication is affecting my moods. It seems I may have finally arrived at the “new normal” people talk about when life changes you profoundly in some way; when lines in the sand are drawn. This is not to be mistaken with complacence – I remain hyper-sensitive to gratitude, and vigilant about maintaining a positive attitude – two lessons that this whole experience has taught me.
Today I am feeling acutely grateful that cancer is far enough in my past that I let February 17 come and go without a blink. And I am grateful for my new friend, another traveler on the journey of “Me, too’s,” who is also cancer-free since 2010. I wish her all the best, and I look forward to whatever is coming next on this adventure called My Life.
*Cancerversary is a term that I must credit to my new friend, Michele Mariani Vaughn. I look forward to meeting you in person, Michele!