Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Marking Time

living with cancer

I can’t believe that this time last year I already had a tumor growing inside my chest. It is now 8 months since I starting looking for an answer to why I felt like crap and just over 6 months since my official diagnosis of lymphoma. So much can happen in a year it is mind blowing. I cried when I thought about it. I’m not sad by any means but amazed at how much my life has changed, let alone my look. It is surreal still, almost shocking.

How can these photos possibly be me? I’m not certain I know the woman in those photos. Yet, there is no doubt that I know her all too well. I’m not in denial. I know all too well that I have cancer. Every time I take a deep breath I feel what is left of the tumor. Every time I look in the mirror I’m not yet comfortable with the woman looking back. Only when I look inward do I see the Lori that I know. She is very much there, showing her strength and learning so much. I am proud of her.

I used to mark my life by events like buying my house and starting my own business. To think I thought quitting my job was the scariest thing ever. That is now quite laughable. My new life markers will be things like the first time I will use a brush on my new hair and the first time the doctors will say the word “remission” with me in the room. Someday they may even officially say “NED” (No Evidence of Disease). However, don’t think for one minute I will remember my life through only cancer related events. No, that would not be like me at all.

Determination is my trademark and I am determined to turn this experience into something really positive. It already has been. I’ve made some great new friends and have learned how truly wonderful people can be. I’ve gained a new perspective on what is important and see even greater beauty in all things. Now, I am starting to be well enough to make plans. I can already see the paintings I will create and new directions for my business. Volunteer work and a master’s degree are also in my future. My personal life is looking up as well. I have enough energy now to feel excitement. These things will be the subjects of my future blog posts. I look forward to them.

If you have a moment please visit my friend Liz’s blog site. She finished radiation almost a week after I did. She rocks. (I’m two weeks out of treatment.) She is far more eloquent than yours truly. Also, if you did not get the opportunity to see the special on Living with Cancer, hosted by Ted Koppel, I recommend viewing it when it is shown again. If you are not familiar with Leroy Sievers take some time read about him as well. Even before you met me I’m sadly certain you were touched by cancer. If you get nothing else from all of us get this one thing. Make each day special because it is.