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Chapter VIII

THE END | Beginnings

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It’s the day after Christmas.

We’re back at the hospital. Just a visit this time with a concern about bleeding. The doctors are not concerned so we get to go back home. In the 8 days since the surgery we have been to or stayed at the Hospital for 5 of those days.

We didn’t decorate for Christmas this year. Didn’t have time to wrap presents really. We had started for our youngest boy but half his gifts were and half weren’t. It was as far as we got before we just couldn’t do anymore.

We weren’t even supposed to be here for Christmas. Dafna was supposed to speak in the UK and we were going to visit my mom. Best laid plans and all that.

Don’t get me wrong. I got the gift I wanted this year thanks to the doctors and medical staff.

I think we’re all a little exhausted today. We’ve been fighting this diagnosis so fast, so hard, and so relentlessly, and now that we’re on the other side of it, forced to rest and slow down it’s all sinking in.

So now what?

This Cancer has completely turned our lives upside down in a matter of weeks. Our holiday plans were obliterated, our hopes and dreams were for a moment shattered, our days for now confined to a bed or the couch as Dafna tries to slowly heal from this major surgery.
Yes, we got the outcome we wanted for which I am eternally grateful but what lingers, what is oppressively hanging over our heads this holiday where we’re too numb to much more than get out of bed is…. how do we keep it from coming back?

Dafna has now undergone three major surgeries regarding warding off Cancer and this last one to get rid of it. What else do we have to do to keep this scourge from coming?

There is some part of me now that lives in fear that it could happen again somehow. How do we move forward having gone through this ordeal without looking over our proverbial shoulder every time we don’t feel well?

Recovery is harder than we thought. The days go by.

Then, I realize that in two days it will be 2018.

We have spent our last few weeks of 2017 in complete turmoil. Worrying, wondering, waiting. Then doing everything we could do to get rid of the scourge of Cancer from Dafna’s body.
And healing.

We’re not out of the woods. She still has healing to do and yes, she’ll be one of the lucky ones. A Cancer Survivor. We don’t take that for granted in any way shape or form. But we don’t know how this happened or why or if it will happen again. As we sit here contemplating all that this past year has been for us and looking ahead to all that has yet to be in the coming hear we’re faced with choices about how to move forward, what to focus on, what to do?

I’m sitting here in the dark trying to put some sense to all of this and looking back in order to look forward.

So what did I learn on this Journey?

I learned that I have no control over anything, and that I have to give up thinking that I should have any control in the first place.

Life is random. We all go about doing what we can, helping who we can, affecting life the best we can but ultimately what happens TO us has nothing to do with that. It’s like that quote, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

No one wants the storm. We all want sunny warm days and cool breezes, blue skies and glowing sunsets. None of us wants a brutal storms to come crashing in on our lives.
And yet no matter what we do, how hard we work, how ‘good’ we are, we have no control over whether the storm hits us… or not.

Cause it’s not about the storm.

It’s about the dance.

It’s not about the Cancer. It’s about living.

I don’t know what 2018 will bring.

Maybe it’s not about what it brings, but what we bring to it.

What I’ve learned is that it’s okay to be scared when this happens. Hell, you’d BETTER be scared when this happens.
It’s okay to be mad.
It’s okay to feel hurt.
It’s okay to feel that it’s not fair. Because it’s NOT FUCKING FAIR.
It’s okay to wonder and worry and cry.

But it is not okay to give up.
It’s NEVER okay to give up.

If it’s one thing Dafna taught me throughout this roller coaster journey is that you don’t ever give up. And I don’t mean just giving up about the diagnosis or the outcome. She certainly never gave up hope even when she was scared and worried.

But what I’m talking about is what she showed me every day of this journey which was You Never Give Up Living!

She never gave up being who she was. It’s why she was constantly helping other people, doing what she does because That’s Who She Is. And whatever this was going to be she was going to keep on living all the way through it.
All the rest of it, the worrying and wondering and fear… that was just stuff that got in the way.

Yes, it is incredibly important to stay positive, to surround yourself with people who support and love you, to get the most amazing care possible from angels and top-notch surgeons; all of that is paramount.
Just don’t’ forget to keep on living during the journey.

I don’t know how well I did during this journey of continuing to live. It was hard.
I do know that I’m living now.
If I could give you one piece of advice, and yes, I know it’s trite. My advice would be not to wait for the storm to learn how to dance.
Even if you have two left feet while you’re dancing, dance anyway.
Even if you can’t feel the rhythm or don’t feel you have the strength to get up much less dance, dance anyway.
If you feel like there’s no one to dance with, dance anyway.
Don’t wait for a storm to come along and remind you to dance, you’ll have wasted all that time and beautiful music that surrounds you.
You’re the only one who can dance your dance. The world needs your dance. Just dance…. just live.

That’s the whole purpose of this life… to live it. Don’t wait for the perfect moment, the ‘after I….” or “when I….” or “as soon as I….”. Dance now.
It’s never too late to start living your life. Don’t wait until it becomes too late.

One last thing. In case I haven’t been clear enough;
I fucking hate Cancer.
Fuck you Cancer.
We’re here to stay. We’ve got living to do.

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