In many ways, I am now intimidated to write. When I had a story, a journey, a battle, it was easy – chronicle and share. There was a duty, a responsibility, and certainly a cathartic element. Now, my life is relatively normal. But then again it’s not. And that complexity begs exploring.
Every time I sit down to write, something happens – it’s that time of year. First it’s the chaos and joy of Christmas at our house – gingerbread houses, an elf that has quite a mischievous side, the requisite weird viruses, sinus infections, present shopping and schedule coordinating. There is so much joy. The kids sing along to carols in the car, race to change the advent calendars … and after Friday, there are even more hugs and I love yous and blessings counted.
My biggest debate right now is how to acknowledge the year we have had, without letting it define us. Even the Christmas card – do I include a letter whose sole purpose would be to describe the year we have had and what we have battled? I decided to leave it out. Cancer has had too much control over 2012, now it’s time to move on.
Or is it? I am reminded every time I get dressed and have to put on my Nordstrom ladies. I am reminded every time that I have to take a nap because my energy still isn’t what it used to be. I am reminded when I take my 9 pills at night, including my new friend tamoxifen (no side effects yet but I’m waiting). I am reminded every time I get a request to talk about my journey, to help someone new on the cancer rollercoaster. I am reminded every time I look the mirror or get a compliment on my “new pixie cut”.
I have seen all my doctors and they are all amazed at my progress – my radiation oncologist joked that he would have treated me longer if he knew how well I would heal. It wasn’t really funny. But, the news is all good. Now I move to “survivorship” which actually has classes and responsibility (including regular exercise and stretching). But it isn’t a switch that got turned off – my body is altered, my lens is different.
What a difference a year makes – as I walked a newly diagnosed lady here in Austin through my entire battle I realized how far we have actually come. What we have done as a community – family and friends. We made it through with the family unscathed – the kids happy and joyous, my husband – though not in the position we had planned – happy with his role and hopefully having enjoyed the extra time with us. And I am proud, I am thankful. And I have to at least acknowledge it.
This Christmas season, this holiday season, be thankful for little things – and build memories. This should not be about stuff, it should be about experiences. Create as much joy as you can – that’s what we all hope to remember from 2012.
The mind is a terrifically equipped machine – with memory mostly for the happy stuff. That is another reason to be thankful.
Now, to share with you that I practice what I preach, here is a link to our family pictures: wardspictures.shutterfly.com
A link to the Dinsey SCUBA trip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuBCX2w1wZc
And, a link to our Ward family Christmas card assembly line: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p27EU9bLXa4
Merry Holidays and a Happy New Year. Hopefully 2013 will not be as eventful! Thank you to everyone for your help and love and support in the big and small ways. Love, Team Ward.