So, I'm feeling good and am cancer free. I'm down to 6 month and 1 year follow up appointments with my doctors. I've got 4 more years of monitoring until I'm fully in the clear. I can go back to my regular health appointments - which were put aside when my Onc took over. Did I mention my hair is coming in curly?
The curly hair is kind of expected, but unexpected all at the same time. I mean, I knew that it was possible - because of the damage the chemo does to the hair follicle - but it's another thing when it actually happens. It's fun. I mean, my hair was extremely straight before chemo, and now it's like I'm a totally different person. The curls may last, or they might just go away -- I'm good with either. I'm just thankful it came back, and it came back well thus far.
But what I think is most unexpected is how much my perspective on life has been seriously altered. I think I knew I would feel different once this was all over, but I don't think I really knew to what degree I would feel different. I feel very different. Not only do I feel like I am different on the outside, with the implants and curly hair, not to mention the length of the hair, and the extra pounds that don't seem to want to come off -- but I feel tremendously different inside.
I don't want to wait. I've lost some of my passive nature. I don't want to miss out on anything. I speak up more now - you're more likely to hear what's on my mind now, than ever before. It's a different type of confidence. It's a confidence that's driven by a heightened sense of appreciation for living. I have a drive to maximize everything - I feel like I was given (earned?) a second chance, a second life - and as cliche as it sounds, I don't want to waste any of these new minutes. Everything that I wanted to do before I went through treatment, everything I felt like I had time to do ... I want to do even more now, sooner. I feel like I actually don't have that much time any more. That "we" don't, as people. I want to do everything that I've ever wanted to do, and I want to pursue all those goals that I've set for myself -- all with a new sense of urgency.
And on the same token, things that were so "important" before, aren't really such a big deal now. The small things are really small things that don't get a second thought anymore. I mean I care - I still care a lot about everything - but if it's not truly meaningful or important, I don't get hung up on it. There's not enough time to.
I've been given a new appreciation for life. I can truly say I LOVE life. I love living. It's an amazing and intriguing thing. You really just float through it, connecting and disconnecting as time passes. Meeting new people, finding old friends .... changing over and over again as you're impacted by these relationships. Making memories, laughing at memories, crying at memories - it all goes so quickly. So if there's one thing that I've learned from this last year of experiences, it's that you shouldn't wait. You never know when it's your time or whether or not you're going to get a second chance. And if you happen to do get a second chance, then go for it. All of it.