Sunday, August 09, 2015

Enjoy the Ice Cream, or Life, Whatever The Case Might Be

Going in to the labyrinth, when I was in San Antonio with my friends, was also an enlightening experience.

In the week after I was told I had no evidence of cancer, a classmate of my sister's died. I assume from cancer. My cousin died after a routine gall bladder surgery. Both were far too young. I was left wondering how things worked the way they did--why am I still here and others are not? What does this mean?

One of my wise friends mentioned to me that she had decided I'd been forced to join a club to which most folks don't want to belong. I'd always been aware of being in that "club" of parents who had lost a child, another club to which no one wants to belong, but I hadn't thought of having "the cancer" as being forced to join that club no one really wants to join.

And because she is a statistical type of thinker, she also mentioned that not only was I in the "cancer club," I was also in the subset of "survivors," where of course, we all want to be. But that brings it's own set of stresses and not everyone gets that privilege.

These things were on my mind as I was walking into the labyrinth, that I didn't know why I was blessed to have made it into the survivors club, that I was extremely grateful for the privilege, even while I was filled with sorrow for those I knew whose lives had ended way too soon. Life just isn't fair and I can't explain or understand why these things worked out the way they did.

I decided that day that "why" is a useless question, at least where things like life and death and the number of days we are allotted is concerned. I wanted to go back and ask my friends what they thought about the value of why as a question, but we got off on other things and I forgot all about it.

Fast forward to today, while I was reading backwards in a "daily book" that I read, looking for quotes to put in my calendar, in an attempt to add color and depth to the pages.

On July 15th, I was told there was no evidence of cancer. I was also told they would see me again in October. So, occasionally, when I pass on the news that "I am all clear," I whisper silently to myself words like, "at this moment," or "as far as I know now." The prospects of having to go back in October, and again, every three months for three years, and then every six months for two more years before I could be really declared "cured" weighed heavily on me. I joked that I was now that I was declared "clean," that I could now go out and start living again. In three month increments. Of such things are the stresses of the survivors (but I'll take that stress, I'm not complaining, just trying to figure things out in my head).

Anyway, somehow, during that walk into the center of the labyrinth, the weight of those three month increments was lifted and I came to realize how I just need to take my life one day at a time, and not waste a minute of it worrying about what might be. We all get what we get in terms of days to live.

Okay, I'm rambling here! Today, on the July 15th page of this "daily book," there was this quote. I don't know how it didn't scream "I'm significant!" on July 15th when I first read it. Maybe I hadn't heard the good news yet, I don't know.

But it seems to be a good philosophy for me to employ any time I let the "three month increment" blues take over.

"My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither, but just enjoy the ice cream while it's on your plate--that's my philosophy." Thornton Wilder 


  1. The philosophy of the eating of ice cream. As wise as any I know.

  2. I have to laugh because I just came upstairs into my office without the bowl of ice cream I was going to dish up and then there was this post of yours to read. :)

    I have a dear friend who's on her last chemo before they run out of options for her metastatic breast cancer. We are hoping this chemo lasts a long time.

    I do sometimes wonder about that 'why' question. I do grit my teeth, however, when people talk about this person or that person being such a fighter and how they knew cancer wouldn't get them down for the count. Such bullshit. When they say things like that I feel I am obliged to ask them then about my growing list of friends who were far more optimistic than I am, who had positive attitudes and all the virtues one could aspire to have and who died anyway.

    Dearest One and I have come to the conclusion it's a crap shoot this cancer business. I'm glad that you have the reprieve of being able to live in this day only. I totally get the three month increments thinking. I better be quiet before I write a blog post in your combox. Love you. So, so glad that we have met one another face to face.

    1. I agree, Hope. It is a bit of a crap shoot. Hubby asked at one point how they knew the chemo was working. The PA was very blunt. She said, "We don't."

      But I am fairly okay with thinking of myself as having "fought" this battle, and had/have it in my head that I can choose at any given time, to stop fighting if I were to get tired. I think of it as me letting the chemo and the treatment team doing part of the fight. My part in the battle is to try and make changes in my lifestyle that will help keep from making things worse. None of us can say we or anyone is too much of a fighter to let Cancer get us down, IMO. We don't ha that kind of power!

      I love you too, and I'm so glad to have met you face to face after all these years!

  3. I love this, and I love that I can close my eyes and see you walking in those grace circles, under that hot Texas sun.

    'Son', I typed; then corrected.


    I love you.


    1. That's the greatest thing, having voices and movement to put with all those typed in words over the years!

      Son, sun, both good! Love you too!

  4. I am not a 'why' person when it comes to the big stuff. I'm not saying that's a good thing, but that often I have to ignore the why in order to have the energy to deal with whatever comes along. Your 'don't let it melt' strategy is a good thing. :)

    1. I think you're approach is a wise one, Rach. Worrying too long about the "why" can suck up valuable time and energy.


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