Between now and Thursday, there’s nothing to do but wait. I’m anxious and not anxious to get started. I don’t want to rush the time right now where I’m feeling great, enjoying being with my husband and baby, and spending time with my family. But I am anxious to have this be behind me and get on with regular living. Although saying that is funny because how do you go back to normal from here? I’m interested to find out. Maybe it’s just a different kind of normal - a normal with a whole new appreciation for how wonderful normal is. I will appreciate it. When we were waiting to find out the results of the first liver biopsy, where I was convinced the pregnancy was to blame for a false positive on the PET scan, Jeff and I spent a lot of time (in between worrying) promising that we would never take anything in our lives for granted ever again. It was like one day the universe saw we were getting lazy, slapped us across the face, and said “HEY! Look at all of the wonderful things you have in life – perfect love, a fabulous baby, amazing family and friends, an awesome house, great jobs, and your health. And you sit around all day just taking it all for granted and complaining about meaningless things like traffic and the weather, so now I’m going to take one of those wonderful things away to make you realize how lucky you are.” And do you know what? It worked. I have never felt so lucky in my entire life. I have never fully appreciated all that I have, not until I’ve been faced with the possibility of losing it. They say you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. It may be a cliché, but it’s true. It’s so very true. And it doesn’t even have to be gone, just the possibility of things changing made me realize what I have. I have everything I could ever want in life. I am truly happy. I am honored by the love that surrounds me. And I will remember that each and every single day.
I’ve spent a decent amount of time in hospitals because I’ve had asthma since I was 3 years old, and more recently with the melanoma surgeries and giving birth to baby Kai. I think of them as places of healing, places that you go to feel better. This time is going to be the opposite experience. I’m going to feel great when I enter and get sick while I’m there. I will come out feeling worse than when I went it. Ultimately the treatment will make me better (it will, it will, it will), but to do that it first has to make me sick. So if I am the fighter and the IL-2 is my trainer, it’s a little bit like taking orders from the crazy masochistic Russian from Rocky IV. While of course I’m not looking forward to feeling awful, I am confident that I am in good hands and that numerous highly-trained professionals will be watching over and caring for me. And for that I could not be more thankful.
One of the wonderful things about this experience is how much time I’m getting to spend with family. My mom has been staying with us for weeks to help with the baby, my dad and step-mom are here now and will be again in two weekends, Jeff’s parents are coming on Thursday to stay for a couple of weeks, my uncle and cousin are coming next Monday, and my cousin and family are coming for a week at the end of February. I’ve been talking with aunts and uncles, cousins, sisters, nieces, nephews, and good friends much more than usual. And I am now back in touch with childhood friends with whom I’ve lost touch but still love just the same as I did when we were younger. It’s really a fabulous gift and makes me wonder why do we put off visiting, or even just speaking with, people we love? We always say we don’t have time, or now isn’t a good time, or we’ll certainly have to do it sometime soon. But we do have time, now is the perfect time, and there is no time sooner than now. Even if you are the healthiest person alive, there’s still not enough time in life to waste. I have learned that the absolute most important part of my life is the people who fill it. Without my family and friends, I have nothing worth living for, there is no point in fighting. I don’t worry now about all of the things I might leave. I am not going to miss my car or my clothes or my TV. None of my furniture sits with me in the hospital or visits/writes/calls me to offer support and encouragement. So I vow, from now on, to always have time for others and to be extremely grateful for every second of that time.
Today I am thankful for my wonderful family; renewed and strengthened friendships; and, as always my absolutely perfect husband and sweet, sweet baby. I treasure this journey because it has made me realize just how much I love you.