Well it’s time to take stock of things, ring out the old, ring in the new as they say whoever “they” are. To do this I have been reflecting on this whole blog thing. Today is my 87th blog post and I have received over 667 comments on the blog not counting the many kind comments I have received on FB and e-mail. To say its all been a bit surprising, if not downright overwhelming, is an understatement. I never imagined so many people wanted to hear my musings and little stories about my small life. This year especially, has been one of living with grace and gratitude as I have continued to enjoy good health despite, or in the face of, a terminal illness. How that is happening we have no idea! I feel embarrassed by all the lauding and awards but proud at the same time that I have been able to open up my little corner of the universe and have received amazing feedback and support.
Two years ago I wrote a blog titled Lost Stars. Reading it today I am nothing but amazed at how far I have traveled in my last two trips around the sun. Back then things were not looking good and I was feeling, well, lost. Today I am completing a year of celebrating and travel and shenanigans. We have gone to Scotland, Ireland, Washington DC and Aruba. I have managed to stay out of the hospital and out of the chemo chair. I have met and made many new friends along the way and said goodbye to some favorite ones when I retired in October and of course, lost many friends with MBC. I guess I could say I have been living life at full velocity, leaning into the wind and angling my Adirondack chair into the sun.
I read somewhere about conditional survival. The idea that the longer one lives with metastatic cancer, the longer they are likely to live. Supposedly, at almost 3 years since diagnosis, I have a 45% chance of living another 5. I don’t know if that is complete junk science but okay, I’ll take it! Even my real doctors have no idea what the future holds for me and as always, we still live Pet Scan to Pet Scan. The next is at the end of January along with a few other lovely tests such as a colonoscopy. Yippee! As we are now fully into wedding planning for head coconut, we are kinda waiting for this next batch of testing before finalizing anything but as Evan says “hey, deposits have been made!”
As anyone who is a long-term reader of my blog, you may remember that Christmas is not my favorite holiday–the weight of all those expectations in the face of tacky, cheap store-bought junk! However, this year I found myself enjoying the holiday season more than I have since I was a kid with no responsibility for the joy and happiness of others (yeah, no pressure). Newly retired, although I work part-part time, I felt able to relax and go with it more. Not having to worry about work we were able to spend a night on the town and I attended my first ever Boston Holiday Pops. It was magical and something everyone should go to no matter how young they are. I don’t go to the mall anymore of course ( I have limitations!), and accomplished my reduced Christmas shopping list online and locally. We attended lots of parties and spur of the moment get-togethers and dinners out. It felt a lot more authentic to me than ever before, less forced. I did not slide sideways into Christmas exhausted and depressed. My BF Stephen lost his father and had open heart surgery in the same week and even he could still make me laugh despite his troubles. Tim came home with a box of ribbon candy and I was ecstatic. It really is about the little things and spending time with others and of course, music. Christmas Eve, our big holiday, always at my house, is a wonderful smorgasbord of loved ones–family from both of our sides, nieces, brothers and sisters and now, Evan’s family too. It is loud and messy and raucous with Tim as ring master–just how we like it.
Now that Tim is retired he even indulged me in a Hallmark channel marathon of smaltzy Christmas movies, all with the same plot line but a different twist each time. I was surprised by his willingness despite his lofty film-making degree from USC but he always has the Christmas spirit.
So, as I ponder the year past, I plan to continue to live with grace and gratitude and to keep looking for the tender mercies. You should too!
My song this week is an updated version from the Christmas Special for Call the MidWife, sung at the 1962 Christmas pageant at the end. It’s funny how the words of a song long forgotten came immediately back to me across all those years.
Be kind and love from the Christmas Circus 2017