Today, I am celebrating my 60th birthday. Apart from the scars, I consider myself fully recovered from all the surgeries and radiation treatments. I am grateful that cancer is a thing of the past. While I have strongly resisted the idea of being a cancer "victim" or "survivor", I have come to accept that this was a part of my own journey. For reasons that only God knows, I needed to have this in my story.
Since I am entering a new decade, I have been reflecting on where I have been and, now, where I am going. I don't anticipate another round with cancer. Mine was Stage 0 and non-invasive. My prognosis was full recovery, and I am assuming that will be the case.
There are a few things I am taking into the next decade as a result of the cancer.
- No one knows what their "life script" will look like. Inevitably, it will contain themes and story lines which were not anticipated. When these aberrations in the planned script do occur, it is necessary to come to terms with the new plot line. There is a reason for it, and it can either enrich one's life, or drive one to bitterness and despair. For me, I have been to both ends of the spectrum and I think I have arrived at 60 with the former perspective. I can see many pluses to being able to sympathize with others who have the same experience.
- I am healthier. I have heard it said that the healthiest people are those with a chronic illness because they take better care of themselves. For me, I know I eat less sugar, eliminated carbonated beverages, and moved away from bad foods. (I am not perfect, but much better!) Also, I exercise more. I plan to stay physically active every day for the rest of my life.
- I plan to be more intentional with my use of time. Radiation treatments knocked me out for almost a year, to be honest. I saw my business very negatively affected because I was unable to keep up with it. This forced me to reevaluate what I am doing with my life and how I use each day. My hope is that my final decades will be filled with even more living than my past decades.
I guess this is like life - seldom, if ever, does one wrap up a chapter with a bow and say "Well, that's the end of that!" One journey, one chapter, ties into another and runs through the entire length of the novel. So, maybe I can just say that I am tying off this particular thread, connecting it to a new one, and continuing to weave new threads into the tapestry that is my life. With that, I think I will get ready to head to the lake to canoe - my birthday gift to myself today!