God's plan?

Every now and then I am blindsided with the reality of the fact that I dodged not only a bullet, but a cannonball. Right now, I'm feeling pretty damn fortunate to be here, to be healthy, to have the world in my hands, hair on my head again, and love in my life. I don't know why that is the case, I don't think I'm supposed to know why that is the case, and I can't ever forget that it could change in an instant.

We saw Renee in late September to hand off the shirts for screen printing for the 3-Day. She told us then that her sister had been diagnosed with liver cancer and that she was waiting to hear more news. A couple of days later, she updated us with the news was that it was Stage 4 cancer on her colon and liver and they were planning to do a PET scan to see if the cancer has spread anywhere else. She was going to start chemo in early October and Renee told us the doctor said she had five years at best.

Of course, my initial reaction was that this cancer stuff simply sucks. However, knowing Renee, and hearing that her sister has a very similar personality was reassuring. Typical me, I reiterated my belief in the fact that the mental drive to fight works wonders, and that I despise the fact that any doctor gives a timeline for longevity because it's so inaccurate. I told her that as we've learned, every statistic has a bell curve, and if I listened to the statistics, who knows if I'm supposed to be here today. That's one thing we've always loved and appreciated about Dr. C - while he's never minced words or sugar coated anything, but not once has he ever put a duration on life expectancy.

And on we went.

Last night I got an email from Barb, followed by an email from Renee this morning. Her sister went to the oncologist on Monday and was told that the PET showed that her entire liver was compromised and that there is nothing else they can do for her as her liver is shutting down, which is irreversible. She was told that she probably has a couple of weeks left. Renee is headed out to see her, knowing that she could likely have to say goodbye.

Whoa... whoa. Wait a minute. This isn't supposed to happen. I repeat:

Silly me, living in my own world, thinks that all Stage IV cancer patients can fight. All Stage IV cancer patients can achieve NED status. All Stage IV cancer patients can win battles.

Can't they??? Damn it, CAN'T THEY???

I go through my day as if I'm not even affected most times. I wake up - we go for our walk or hike. I have my coffee and smoothie. I go to the gym. I go to work. I come home. I watch baseball. I eat. I love. I laugh. I'm not in the hospital, I've never been in the hospital for more than an outpatient procedure. I don't have to have regularly scheduled procedures for draining of fluid in my abdomen, or my lungs. I'm not on my umpteenth round of different cocktails of chemo. Instead, I'm continually building strength, building hope, falling down and picking myself back up, thriving...

And all of a sudden I realize - HOLY SHIT. I am not the rule, I am the exception. People die. People like ME die. The cancer spreads and it's not always able to be surgically removed or or zapped away. Why I am I so fortunate to have the quality of life that I do? More importantly, why am I so fortunate to still be here at all?

So many of us believe that God has a plan. That we don't exactly know what that plan is, but that there is one. I fluctuate on this theory. Assuming that it's valid, however, I've questioned numerous times how cancer fits into this mysterious plan for me and while supposedly none of us are given more than we can handle, why I have had to handle so much. Is it because I can? Is it like when I started the chemo and once my body was handling it so well, Dr. C not only kept me going weekly instead of having every three weeks off, but also upped the dosage? Is that part of the reason I am where I am today? That it's more dependent on science, rather than God?

Then I realize - maybe it's not that I have been given the cancer, but that once I dealt with it, I have been given the opportunity to live. Maybe, as I've been told, part of this mystery plan for me is to go out and inspire and shine a light on the world - or little parts of it. Perhaps I am meant to be a conduit by which people - even one single person - can look at the world a little differently, or hold their loved one a little tighter, or make decisions that they can be proud of, or realize there is more to life than the grind they endure every day, or plan a romantic evening, or take that trip of a lifetime before the opportunity slips away, or remember to savor that one perfect moment when they wake up in the morning and it's a new day.

I've been going about my business as if it was never up for discussion that I would persevere. Today? I realize that I still have no idea why I was fortunate enough dodge the bullet but I am so thankful that I managed to duck at the right time.


    Tonight, because I'm inspired, I plan to hug that loved one a little closer. Who knows, tomorrow, I might even love that cazy new dog! :)

    crap. sorry to hear this. but yeah, you are the beautiful exception my dear friend.