no matter what kind of cancer you have, death always will cross your mind. i am certainly not scared of dying, but i can't help but think what my legacy would be. it doesn't help that i have all the time in the world to sit and think on chemo weeks. but, it's good for me. it causes me to reflect on the kind of wife/friend/relative that i am and the one i strive to be. i want to make a lasting impression when i'm gone. this isn't me getting all morbid either, i know i'm not dying for a looooong time. i just realized that it's not enough for me to just be yet another person on this earth who lives for their own selfish gain. i want to make a difference. if i just get married, work, have kids, and die when i'm 90, i won't have lived up to my potential. yes, i can make a difference in my everyday life, but that's not enough...not for me. Colleen Wolak is a perfect example of this. so is Kristin Hodulick. both of their lives have been impacted by friends and relatives who have/had cancer. they are constantly doing fundraisers and running marathons to raise tens of thousands of dollars to help those who are suffering. i certainly don't think that's for everyone, but it's their thing and they make a difference...and it's inspiring.
so, i'm gonna get on a soap box for a second and say that the "woe is me" attitude is just plain sickening. no where is it written that life is fair...is it fair that i got cancer? sure, it is. why should cancer discriminate? cuz i'm young? please! it's way better to get cancer when you're young. It's easier to fight and it changes your entire outlook on life. plus, look at all the experiences we've been accumulating. joey and i went to Charleston, Savannah, Isle of Palms...and before that trip, we even went to the ballet at the Kennedy center (big one for joey). i am trying new things...like okra instead of french fries and a whole grouper with the bones still in it. we took carriage rides around the town, listened to locals sing and dance down on the pier...and of course i got it on video: www.youtube.com/raerobs31.
okay, rant over. back to cancer update for a moment. i've been having some issues with my breathing so they took me off the "B" of my ABVD treatment. "B" is the bleomycin that can cause lung hardening. i had a second pulmonary function test which showed a decrease in my DLCO, which is the ability to take oxygen and exchange it for carbon dioxide. so, the bleo is being left out. i have lots of marathons to run when this cancer crap is over...so, better safe, than sorry. my red blood count has also been slowly and steadily declining, which just means that i'm slowly becoming anemic.....which really just means i'm getting more and more tired. i can deal with tired as long as i get my 2 mile run in first and if i can't run, then i'll walk, and if i can't walk, i just watch Fit TV and kill calories by osmosis.
my doctor told joey and i that i need to be in remission for 2 years before we can try to have babies. i originally shrugged that off until my nurse, theresa, agreed with him. she said that i probably don't want a baby with three heads. but maybe i do...it would be like having triplets but with only one college tuition. okay, so maybe i'm using humor to mask the fact that i don't wanna wait two years. but since when is any of this about what i want? so, i'm changing my mindset. what can i accomplish in the next two years or so? well, for starters, i am starting a business with my friend Lindsey who has been there since the beginning. we are going to empower and inspire cancer patients and their friends and families with our "kill cancer" gear. we are taking a proactive approach. no whining about how cancer sucks...we are just gonna help kill it. so, check out our website: www.killbadstuff.com Lindsey also started giving me my injections lately which i think she enjoys waaay too much.
will running marathons for charity be my legacy? will my company? who knows. i do know, however, that i have the ability to choose my attitude and outlook and that leaves a lasting impression. the following is an email that i received from my nurse, theresa, who just so happens to go to our church...
"...today I had to say goodbye to a beloved patient. I hate that part. I will see his obit soon. Rachel- one day I will see you as a cancer free girl and I am grateful, joyful and praising Jesus for that. One day we will see each other at the clinic for hello's and not chemo. I will see you at church being a cancer free momma in waiting. That is really cool. I write this because I started reading Lion Chaser and I am inspired to love you cancer people more! I am blessed to meet some awesome people and I count you and Joe among the really cool.
...thanks for the gifts, tee shirts, coffee (medicinal syrup), hand soap, smiles, laugh, blog, looking forward to seeing you moments. Thanks, you are too good to me and I appreciated it. Thanks for being Rachel the Lion Chaser and inviting me to join in your kill cancer journey!"
if only they didn't weigh you, poison you, and harpoon you with huge needles at the cancer center, i would thoroughly enjoy going to visit my nurses. "kissen" and theresa always make me laugh and getting an email like that one just makes my day. every action of every day makes a difference. i am going to live my life with no regrets and certainly no self-pity. everyday uncovers yet another redeeming aspect of cancer. if only everyone could be so lucky.
To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you lived. This is to have succeeded. - Ralph Waldo Emerson