“When I reach three years past diagnosis, I can breathe again,” a friend with triple-negative breast cancer told me recently. Triple negs, as we sometimes call ourselves, can begin celebrating our cancerversary at the three-year mark. TNBC is generally more aggressive than hormone-positive breast cancer, but if it does not recur within three years, our chances of beating it are high.
Still, the friend planned to start living in three years.
That’s about three years off schedule.
We have today to live, today to appreciate, today to enjoy, today as a blessing. Today as a celebration. Really, today is all anybody can really plan on, so why not make the most of it?
I am reading Joan Didion’s A Year of Magical Thinking, about the death of her husband, John Gregory Dunne. He died of a heart attack in the middle of a conversation as they were sitting down to dinner. Neither had gone into that day with the slightest thought that it would be his last. Yet one minute they were chatting and the next he was slumped over the table; he never recovered.
So, if you are stewing about what you might have done differently in the past to avoid cancer and planning what you will do in the future when you finally believe the disease is behind you,it may be time to think a little differently. Think about what you can do today. And try to appreciate the beauty of this day.
We have it.
It is ours.
Photo by Pat: wild orchids in the Andes, off the Inca Trail near Machu Picchu