Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Rolling with the Homies

Life is too short for traffic.  ~Dan Bellack

What a difference a year makes! I can only look back and reflect now, because enough time has passed for me to take the full measure of all that has happened. I count my blessings every day. I take nothing for granted. I am immeasurably appreciative for the people who have been so good to me. I am deeply indebted to my family, who have been courageous in the face of my fears. I am thankful for the chance to recreate my life anew.

Tomorrow will mark the one year anniversary of my major cancer surgery. One year has passed since I was uncertain about what fate would have in store for me. Would my tumor touch major organs? Would it have metastasized? Knowing that my form of cancer doesn't respond to chemotherapy or radiation, surgery was my only hope to keep it from spreading further. Where would it have insinuated itself? I went into surgery with my mom, my husband and my daughter, Caroline, as my support system with me. Caroline was amazing. She got a kick out of my joking around with my pre-op team and surgeons. She was there for me when I swore like a sailor getting that darn Heparin shot...which by the way, hurts like hell, but prevents blood clots. We held hands, we thought positive thoughts, we laughed, we cried a little and we just spent that hour before my operation the pre-op 'stall' at Maine Medical Center in Portland. Hers was the last face I saw before I was wheeled away. Hers was also the first face I saw when I woke up and was wheeled into my hospital room after the procedure. That beautiful face, with those adorable dimples, was my touchstone that day.

It's only fitting that Caroline and I will share another adventure tomorrow. I'm picking her up from prep school for her last Christmas break before she graduates. We will have another "cruising" experience; albeit a much more positive one this time. Instead of rolling into surgery, we'll be rolling  home to Maine. I can't wait. Caroline and I have established a tradition during the 4 1/2 hour trip to and from her school in western Massachusetts. We sing as loudly as we can. Since I tend to flub up words, and can't carry a tune to save my life (pun fully intended), I am a constant source of amusement to my daughter. I insist that my lyrics are correct, and if my tone is a bit 'pitchy', well, it's all part of the fun. We belt out show tunes (I have passed on my passion for Broadway musicals), pop songs and, this time of year, Christmas carols. I once had Caroline nearly rolling on the floor laughing when I insisted I could speak Hindi, when I went through my Bollywood phase, thanks to the "Slumdog Millionaire" soundtrack. She made me realize how tame my generation's music was compared to today's rap lyrics. We laugh, we sing, we tell stories, we catch up, we think positive thoughts, we share and we just enjoy being in each other's company once again. 

In some ways, December 15, 2010 and December 15, 2011 won't be all that different. I'll be with my daughter. We'll be talking, day dreaming, venting and just basking in the gratitude of having each other. However, we will be much more lighthearted this year. We still have our worries. We still have issues we're concerned about. But, we have many wonderful memories that are ahead of us. A year ago, we were so entrenched in the present it was hard to see the future. Today, we're happy that some mysteries still await us. I'm glad to be sharing it with Caroline. Not only is she my daughter, but she's my 'homie'. There's no one I'd rather "roll with".

Monday, December 12, 2011