Gratefulness and Appreciation

This week my stoic, unemotional days with a sunny Southern California attitude about life are finally starting to return.

My forecast is now improving with only some spotty clouds and a slight chance of rain. The sort of rain that falls during those random showers that only last minutes while the sun is still shining. Like a happy rain.

I can finally see the finish line, and what a physical and emotional relief it is.

Though I have lost most of my naivete and sense of invulnerability over these last 9 months, I have seen a side of life and a group of people in a community that is bonded over one shared experience. Regardless of age or gender or color or creed, cancer does not discriminate. I think everyone reading this knows that.

You can all read my story and think "Glad it's not me!" But as soon as you dot that exclaimation point, you also remind yourself that it could be you tomorrow. That's how cancer works.

I've had this thing in my body and this experience treating it that could carry me anywhere in the world and instantly connect me with a complete stranger. We cancerous ones have all sat in a room and heard the very same news. We have all had that moment where our entire lives hit rock bottom with a single word.

And it's not just my own intimate relationship with cancer that has robbed me over and over again. It's walking into a building time after time that is stacked full of people connected by cancer. People that have it, people that had it, people that are clearly dying of it and people that are clearly living after it.

To see people day after day who are just grateful to have one more sunrise will put your life in a serious perspective real fast. 

At any given visit I can sit and wait and hear distant conversations that aren't about comparing or one-upping or out doing. In this world it's not a competition. It doesn't matter what stage you have, how long you've been treating it or how many rounds of chemo you've done. We are all equal simply over a shared experience. Cancer is cancer is cancer. It's not a pissing contest.

I may have lost so much of my innocense, but I have also gained a greater appreciation for life, for normal, for waking up and being able to get out of bed. I have a new sense of gratefulness and a greater desire to grab hold of every moment and live it even fuller.

I have had the ultimate attitude adjustment.

I know my sappiness is sounding cliche, but I can't help it when I'm sitting here enjoying my last fleeting day of normalcy before I reconnect to that IV and dive down for one last trip to the depths of misery.

In a weird way I'm grateful to cancer for what it has given me. For in the end, I think it will have given far more than it has taken from my life. It's odd to think of cancer as a giver in my life when it is such a taker in others.

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