We've all seen cancer slogans on t-shirts, buttons and baseball caps. If you've received a cancer diagnosis, odds are good you've also heard them from your family and friends.
My first go-round with breast cancer, I wore my hot pink Cancer Sucks
t-shirt with pride to my chemo treatments. A few years later, life is more challenging with my metastatic diagnosis and trying to live One Day at a Time
Two weeks ago, I attended my uncle's funeral; after the service, we were traveling to MD Anderson for a PET scan and doctor's visit. During the service, I was looking at Uncle Bill's children, grandchildren and great-grandson.
"Hmmm.....let's see....if I was 31 when Henry (my son) was born, I'll be 36 when he starts kindergarten. If I'm 49 when he graduates high school, how many years until I could be a grandma?"
There I was, sitting second pew, when a familiar dark cloud slithered into my thoughts. "Will I live long enough to meet my grandchildren?"
My mom will tell you no one knows how much time they have; she could get hit by a bus tomorrow. While that may be true, some of us are standing in the middle of the road, making us more likely to get hit by a bus than the average person. Most people assume they'll live a long and healthy life, but when you're in my boat, it takes concerted effort to make that assumption.
It's been almost a year and a half since I was first deemed incurable. Henry was only a few weeks old and completely dependent on us, but I was the one that needed him. Even when the dark thoughts felt all consuming, I had to Put One Foot in Front of the Other
and go fix him a bottle! He continues to give me purpose daily, making it impossible for me to hide under the covers.
My goal is to Enjoy Life in the Now
, which is much easier said than done. Most days I choose to keep busy with being a wife and mom – balancing trips to the grocery store and play dates, with oncologist appointments and medicine side effects. I am still responding to my current medication, giving me 12 weeks until the next trip to Houston. Until then, we'll be enjoying summertime in the backyard and trying to stay cool in the Texas heat, just like a "normal" family would.
From now on, when the black cloud sneaks into my thoughts, I am going to follow Henry's lead. At 18 months old, my son doesn't look at the big picture or know what he'll be doing next year or even this afternoon. Every morning, Henry wakes up smiling and ready to tackle the day by running around like a wild man, terrorizing the dogs and trying to jump off the back of the couch.
I can't think of a better example of Live for Today
, can you?
Carrie Corey is a wife, mom and metastatic breast cancer survivor. She will be reporting in frequently on her journey.