Thoughts on New Year's resolutions and planning for the years ahead when your future is tied up in uncertainty because of cancer.
After crossing the finish line for 2019, welcoming a new year (and decade) also brings an unavoidable period of reflection and goal setting. It's our agreed upon time to step back and evaluate life progress, which isn't necessarily all that fun when your future is tied up in uncertainty and high-stress situations.
I've always found more comfort focusing on my daily routines. In the midst of cancer chaos, they provide an orderly sense of structure. And as long as I keep everything aligned with my priorities, I can safely check the box, feeling like I've accomplished something and keep it moving…
Part of why I find scans so stressful is because they throw off the rhythm and mean it's officially time to face the music. Scans bring to mind intimidating words like "results" and "consequences" - words that always feel a little too overwhelming when it's your life that's at stake. And even though I know whatever is revealed would be the same with or without scans, ignorance is bliss and I'll take bliss wherever I can find it these days.
When I shared about a recent spell of depression, New Years being around the corner probably had a lot to do with it. That and my struggle with identity…
I've fortunately had positive scan results lately so it's only natural to start thinking more about the future. To dream again. Where do I see myself in 5 years? Will I be working? Will I ever feel safe letting go of my dependency on around the clock health regimens and return to a somewhat normal lifestyle? What will my social life look like?
Uncertainty never sits well with me. These questions drive me crazy until I feel like I've come up with a plan. But that's the thing with cancer: you lose control and have to learn to accept loss. I'm still struggling with the realization that time, as well as major life opportunities, were taken away.
At this point, the best strategy seems to be remembering to stay present. I'll keep my eyes open for new opportunities and making any necessary adjustments, while mainly focusing on "being here now" and more importantly, being ok with that.
In 2020, I'm writing, fighting and soaking up new memories with friends and family. I may not have all the answers, but today, everything is fine. Why isn't that enough?