I go through phases with my post-cancer self where I feel strongly that my cancer is gone and that I’ll be around in 10 years and therefore I can dream and then at other times this sinking feeling creeps in and all my vulnerabilities seem to rise to the surface and I experience this feeling of dread. All cancer patients know this feeling. It’s as though you have lost all sense of control, that you seemed to think you had before the diagnosis, and you don’t know when you’ll ever have that feeling of control again. Perhaps, this sense of control doesn’t really exist, perhaps we just think it does.
And not a day goes by that I don’t feel grateful to be up and about and feeling great. I think back on those days on the couch trying to deal with chemo killing all those cells, good and bad. Days where I removed myself from doing some of the things I loved because I just plain couldn’t deal with it or didn’t feel well enough to participate.
But I feel joyous and free whenever I pull my tennis bag over my shoulder and head to the tennis courts, not only to engage in a fun but competitive game of tennis but to associate with all my lovely tennis friends. Today, I played a match in Park City, and let’s be honest, as a group Park Cityites have a reputation of snootiness. I really don’t know why it is but every time we play there, it’s confirmed. Anyway, I had the privilege of playing with Darlene. Now, Darlene is 74, a full 20 years older than me and she is such a great tennis player. She moves amazingly well and she can lob at the exact correct time over the tallest player. She has the best attitude, she’s feisty as all get-up, she hates to lose and she inspires me. I want to play tennis at 74! After our match, our opponents asked her age and they too were astonished at her youthfulness!
So, tomorrow is my birthday. I will be 54 and that is the age my sister, Lynne, lost her battle with cancer. She didn’t get to hold her darling grandbaby, Paxton, and she didn’t get to do all the things she wanted to but I am certain that life goes on beyond the grave and feel confident that she is in a very happy place. Here’s what I really miss. I miss that I can’t call her on the phone and hear her voice and I miss that I can’t look forward to spending time with her on another cruise and I miss not being able to send her a Christmas or birthday package. And I’m really saddened that I don’t get to share my thoughts with her because I know she would understand.
But, nonetheless, I woke up feeling both hopeful and excited this morning. Happy for the day that is about to unfold before me and grateful that I get to live this day happy and healthy and appreciative of all the great things that are in store for me. And when you feel like that, well then good things will come your way!
Summer fun with my tennis pals at Pebble Beach, June 2012
Joanie, Donna, Andrea, Sue O., Nancy and Cokie