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12 years ago today I was told I was in “remission.”
It was a Wednesday afternoon when the phone rang at the house.
I picked up in the kitchen on the second ring.
Dr. Rifkin was happy to report that the LIJ Schneider Children’s Hospital tumor board had agreed my cancer was gone. The chemotherapy had worked. The cell invasion had ceased.
And that is when we started counting years.
The first milestone was the one-year anniversary.
The next major marker was the five-year “cured” mark.
The next was ten years cancer free and no longer needing to report to an oncologist.
Every year was celebrated as if it was my birthday. Sometimes it was just the four of us. Sometimes it was friends and family, too. Never was it forgotten or minimized. This date, October 7, has been and will always be acknowledged by the people who were impacted the most by my cancer. It was a family disease and continues to be a family celebration of life.
Being a 16-year-old cancer patient is complicated and exhausting. It’s a different rollercoaster everyday and you aren’t sure if it’s you, the cancer or your hormones talking. There was a baldhead, a lack of control and cut skin. There was also a strong casted web of determination and love.
Last week, when I found out my parents and sister were driving up on a Thursday night for a celebratory dinner, I realized it doesn’t matter where I live, the city, the country or the moon. It just matters that we remember the gift that was given to us 12 years ago.
The Dave Matthews Band song that became my anthem was and continues to be “Lie in Our Graves.” The lyrics question why would we lie in our graves wondering what would or could have been. I recently came across this choreographed piece:
And then just because I heart him:
|“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”~ Abraham Lincoln|
Author’s Acknowledgment of Ridiculousness: All names have been changed to protect the innocent, not-so-innocent and the people the author would still like to have a chance of dating in the future.
Thea September 29 at 9:39am
First, please tell Wayne that I believe in the institution of a relationship and I do not want him to break up with his girlfriend. Unless of course he wants to and then by all means he’s a free agent and has my number. But, overall I am not one of those people who think after 3 years of being together that some semi-drunk girl should tell you what to do just because you sang together. Then again maybe I’m on to something. Strike that from the convo. And just give him the apology part.
Second, best phone call of the day was at 8:38 am today. Hello, Hello, Who is this?, Who is this?, Well, I have this number in my phone and I have no idea how it got there or who it was, Who is this?, Weldon, Ohhh… you’re the guy who bought me a drink last night, thanks for remembering, Oh, Well, Um well have a nice day.
Third, Irish car bombs are never a good idea. Ever. Please ignore me anytime I say they are a good idea. Please. And. Thank you.
Fourth, Need honest read on my signing ability and if I should refrain from further such behavior at future outings? I want the truth, even though I say lie to me all the time.
Fifth, Any idea who grabbed my arm last night? I have one of those lovely fingerprint black and blues coming through my pasty white skin.
Sixth, same time, same place next week?
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Heather September 29 at 10:07am
Ha!!!!!!!! This email makes me ridiculously happy.
1) I actually feel no need at all for you to apologize to Wayne, but I will tell him you said so. On a side tangent: His relationship with Wendy has always confused me (never seemed all that into her), but what the hell do I know anyway? He did mention to me that you “took a shine” to him, and I told him that you two would make a good pair, so i am just as guilty as you ; ) He actually responded quickly with the Wendy factor, so maybe he IS starting to feel some loyalty to her. Who knew?
2) Who calls ANYONE at 8:38am in the morning?!?! Especially just to find out who a number is? Isn’t it kind of a default that if you don’t know a number, you probably met them at a bar the night before? Unless you fell somewhere and hit your head, then it opens the possibility to other options. But really, the bar is most likely.
3) I disagree completely with your car bomb diagnosis. I think the actual problem is a lack of a teleportation device to get one home. Or to another bar.
4) DO NOT refrain from singing. It’s fun and goofy, and those are two of your personality traits that I adore. And this is about my needs, so I want you to continue singing. Done.
5) My money is on one of the drunken dudes (perhaps Weldon?) grabbing your arm. Unless Leon had to pull you out of the bar to leave. Then my money would be on her. : )
6) You betcha!!!
Very fun night! And I am even starting to shake my hangover headache! Perhaps I would have thought different about point # 3 if Excedrin did not exist.
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Thea September 29 at 11:23am
a. Well apparently Wayne is not upset with me as I have already received a friend request. Perhaps I should write on his wall an apology about how I am sure after a few choice encounters that I clearly know what is better for him and what he should do with his life. I mean, we sang together, that is moments away from a lifelong friendship of beer. Or in my case vodka.
b. Agreed on all points. Perhaps he didn’t make the cougar connection in his hangover daze. And again, agreed.
c. Teleportation is one of my of my favorite concepts of all time. It’s my go to “if I was a superhero” powers. That and being the bionic woman. But if I had to choice it would be teleportation, I wouldn’t want to be greedy.
d. Thank you for the vote of singing confidence, but I have to say you didn’t tell me if I suck at it or not, you just said it’s for your own personal enjoyment. Sigh.
e. I will ask Leon. She is prolly the best bet. Or Waylon, Weldon, Wyatt or Wayne. Nah, they weren’t that good. BTW total segway. When I first met Waylon (who K8 and I call Pants), I called him Wayne for days and days in conversations. Somehow I couldn’t get it straight in my head. So now having them both in my conversation points is creating a total mindf*ck. Crap. Need another nickname stat. And another segway, which should prolly be in “f” but will stay here, Pants texted me this morning. Interesting development if I say so myself.
f. Fab. I am going to recruit.
All the best in getting over your hangover. Apparently I have laughed mine away recounting last night ridiculousness. And fabulocity.
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Heather September 29 at 12:07pm
I. It’s difficult to recall life before Facebook. Remember when you could do something embarrassing at a bar one night and NEVER SEE THAT PERSON AGAIN?! You didn’t wake up to tagged photos, wall posts and emails. You had some privacy and could maintain some dignity. It’s a world I can remember if I squint my eyes and think real hard. That being said, it’s a world I wouldn’t want to go back to, and yes, I think a wall post is a fabulous idea : )
II. My go-to superhero power is the power to raise the dead. This is not for the noble reasons you might assume, but because I am sometimes lazy or late, and prefer to not have a deadline. To save someone, you have to be there on time. To raise the dead, you can take your sweet time.
III. While I would never tell you if I thought you did suck (mostly because I like to giggle, and I feel strongly that karaoke is a good investment in causing laughter—esp when the person *thinks* they are good), I can tell you that you didn’t. That’s all I remember though. I just know I would have noticed if I thought you sucked, but instead I just enjoyed the show. Oh, and apparently took pictures of. LOTS of pics.
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Thea September 29 at 3:12pm
Well then, I think we are left with me singing with the band, taking / being tagged in lots of pictures, teleporting and maintaining a “friendly” intoxication.