How to spend it. How to fill it up.
When you receive a life-limiting diagnosis, the concept of time takes on a new meaning. Multiple questions pop into your head.
How much time have I got? Can you give me a range?
How does treatment affect how I spend my time? Once you get an answer, if you get one, the answer is often somewhat nebulous. It’s the doctor trying to be:
2. Caring without setting false hope
3. Preventing a freakout moment
A life sentence. My cancer is my life sentence. The most recent conversation with my doctor went something like this:
Doctor: Sloane, we’ve been here before. You are an anomaly. I’m not sure why you’ve survived this long, but you have. Sheer will and determination are are a big reason why you are still alive.
Me: Thanks. I am not finished. What does this new treatment mean for me?
Doctor: I don’t know. Dual-dose therapy (also called double dose or second-line therapy) is difficult. On both of us. I recognize what it means to you and your lifestyle. This therapy is having a positive impact on survival rates. I also remember our last conversation before we decided to go down this path. You said whatever it takes until you can’t or don’t want to continue treatment.
Me: I remember that conversation. It’s in a constant loop in my head.
Doctor: Ok. This treatment is designed to keep your cancer in check. It will never go away. You are fighting a chronic illness (that’s a new word and a new blog post).
Me: Time, doc. Time. How much?
Doctor: 5, 10, 15 years…who knows. You defy the odds again and again.
That last conversation changed me. Instead of filling up my days (one of my type A habits) I am doing the exact opposite. I am living the 50/10 rule.
50 minutes to live my life and 10 minutes of every hour allowing myself to feel whatever it is I want to feel. Sometimes it’s positive visualization. Trying to keep cancer cells at bay. Sometimes it’s full-on anger. Sometimes grief. Sometimes sheer happiness.
Time. There is no real answer. Cancer is tricky that way. I have a choice.
I choose to live today.
I choose to allow the medicine to do what it needs to do.
I choose to spend time with those who add value to my life.
I choose to love, unconditionally.
I choose to give back.
I choose to make this journey mean something.