Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Why Me?


I had my last radiation treatment today. I cheered with the office staff and patients, exuberantly hugged the technicians, and smiled through thirty-seconds of buzzing. I noticed that my funny bone was very closely connected to my tear ducts.

I stayed a little longer after I was finished to visit with a friend I've made, someone also dealing with breast cancer. She's almost through - nine more days - and we decided that we'd like to have a meal together to celebrate when she's finished.

There's a real feeling of "Why me?" about my experience with cancer. Not in the despairing way of why did this happen to me, not feeling the victim at all. But instead an overwhelming sense of gratitude for how easy it has all been. My surgeries went off without a hitch, I've had few side effects from the radiation, and my friends and family and even the people I've met along the journey have been loving and supportive. So why was I so fortunate?

Six months ago, when I found out I had breast cancer and my father was recovering from hip surgery, everything seemed very bleak. And a month later, I was recovering from surgery and my father died, and I didn't know how I would maneuver through the next few months.

But here I am, five months later, looking back on that time, healing emotionally and physically. Amazing.

Last night I dreamed about my dad again. He was with us for Christmas, had actually come back from the grave to be with us. And this morning, my husband called me to the window to see the sunrise: vivid reds and vibrant pinks with the trees silhouetted black against the sky.

What does this day mean to me? It means that when we gather at Christmas, all the members of my family, my father will be with us in spirit. It means that a new day has dawned for me, and I have a responsibility to take my fortune seriously and move on with my life. It means that no matter how slowly time passes, it still marches on, and eventually we get to the end of the things that we worried about and from there they don't look half so scary as they did in the beginning.

So why me? Maybe so I could come to this night, thankful for endings, anticipating new beginnings, and begin to look at scars instead of wounds.

11 comments:

Susie Potter said...

Mamie. I hadn't a clue you were going through all this. You are so strong and beautiful :) I love you!

Susie

Anna, ya dawta said...

Mamita, I am so incredibly proud of you. You have handled all of this so well and with such beauty. I can't wait to see you and celebrate this at Christmas.

Gallins said...

you go girl.love you min.
pen

Ms. Kim said...

Mamie! I must be either blind or at least in the dark! Please accept my apologies for not being aware. This year has been soooo tough on soooo many! Here, too! My prayers and thoughts are with you and I am THRILLED to know that you are doing well! A truly amazing woman I am so proud to know! You keep on keeping on with the gusto you have always had! What a blessed Christmas you will have, Mamie! And us, too!

judylwill said...

And to share this with us.Thanks for your words. You truly know what is important, and it is touching and inspiring.

Jessica M said...

Mamie - you are a bright, twinkling, colorful ornament on the lifetree. Shining. Merry Merry.

kenju said...

Mamie, re your question on my post:

I have no idea what his religion is, if any. He has decorations on his porch, so he celebrates the holiday, one way or another. His objection to the wreath on our sign is simply to be mean, because he thinks some people in the neighborhood have shown him disrespect. He demanded that the head of the HOA step down, and when that guy didn't do it - this man got very beligerant.

kenju said...

Yes, Mamie, he is mean. He reminds me of a banty rooster or someone who has a Napoleon complex.

I sure hope someone buys their home soon!

trishtaylor said...

I am so fortunate, not only to know you, but to have you in my family. We all love you so much. I continue to learn from you even after all these years. Thanks for sharing your wonderful thoughts in writing.

Ann Ake said...

Love your post. Oh my! I didn't know either, but I'm reminded that we are all on a journey. Our attitude toward it makes all the difference. Thank you for sharing sweet friend. Ann A

mamie said...

Thank you, Ann! I know the holidays provide a challenge for you. I hope those beautiful grandchildren bring lots of joy to the occasion. <3