It’s My Two-Year Chemo-versary!

That’s right––two years since I started chemo, with the thought that I might have about that much time left, possibly less, according to the oncologist. No, that never seemed real to me. But as I get farther away from it in time, it somehow seems to become clearer what the medical professionals were telling me. But here I still am, two years later. I’ve got the form of recurrent uterine cancer with the worst prognosis and I lucked out.

I think I was probably more eloquent last year, on my one-year chemo-versary, when I was still coming to grips with the fact that I wasn’t halfway through the rest of my life and I could expect to go on living for an indefinite period. Well, here’s the going-on-living part, the quotidian. It’s short on confetti and long on general chores and maintenance, which is pretty much the human condition for most of us, or at least most of the people who would be reading a blog like this.

Last year at this time, I was so…moved by the fact that I was going to live that it was a few weeks before I could think straight enough to get any work done. I think I was more affected by the news that I was going to live than I was by the news that I had terminal cancer. Even now––I mean, I’m getting things done but every so often I still have a sudden moment of clarity, of being surprised by joy.

It’s still in the back of my mind always that life turns on a dime, so sharply it could give you a nickel change (but never does). 2017 could be as good for me physically as 2016, or it could turn around and bite me. My oncologist, that wonderful, down-to-earth woman who makes no promises, has changed my check-ups from every three months to every four––definitely a good sign. 

Regardless, everything still happens one day at a time. That’s all anyone gets, and if it’s above ground, it’s a good day.

Hi, I’m Not Dead Yet––Hahahahaha, Suck It, Mortality!

I’ve been studying up on quantum physics for the book I’m writing. I mean the hard science quantum physics, not the woo-woo-harness-the-power-of-the-multiverse claptrap that inevitably shows up when you search for genuine physics. Anyway, if there’s one word you could use to sum up the universe––there isn’t, actually, but if there were––that word would be indeterminate. It seems many physicists of the last hundred years or so have had a lot of trouble getting their minds around indeterminacy. Which is something I can’t get my mind around. I mean, considering how life turns on a dime (and could give you a nickel change but never does), I’d have thought scientists would intuit life is probabilities of the possible and non-locality would go without saying. But that’s just me, I guess.

I grew up hoping for things, and working hard for what I wanted, but never counting on anything. I always had Plan B through N in my back pocket and outlines for Plan O through Z in my other back pocket (Q, X, and Z were hilarious).

But that’s the thing: circumstance can land you in a state where plans aren’t an option; they aren’t even real. You get what you get and the only options are how you react to it, how you’re going to work around it, and how your priorities shake out.

Which is the long way of saying, I’m glad to be alive but I can’t help being a little nervous. I have now exceeded the original estimate of the time I had left. I’m not in any way surprised as it’s been obvious for a year that I would. And I still can’t help being a little nervous because, as the kids say, sh!t just got real. I knew I was going to do this. I never believed I was going to do anything else. But it’s no longer something in the future; now it’s put up or shut up: You’re on, kid––careful you don’t trip on your super-hero cape as you make your entrance.

Every day is still going to be a party. Every day is Anything-Can-Happen Day until further notice. Of course, every day is Anything-Can-Happen Day for everyone, not just me. Indeterminacy Are Us. But certain probabilities are a little higher for me and it’s the sort of thing that I can’t help being aware of, sometimes more so than other times.

It’s not going to spoil the daily party. I’ve spent a good part of my life confounding the odds so this is nothing new. 2017 starts with my buying green bananas for a whole month longer than last year, which in terms of my personal probabilities bodes very well.

And I still can’t help being a little nervous. Maybe that’s as it should be. When you feel good, you shouldn’t waste time feeling bad. But being a little nervous can keep you mindful, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Happy New Year.