If there is life, there is change. Often, it creeps up on us: kids get taller, our bodies sag, the “new” car is 3 years old, and last year’s “in” color or dress is passé.
And then there are those life transitions such as graduation, marriage, parenting, divorce, job changes, the empty nest, and retirement which will require us to embrace a New Normal. While they may gobsmack us, none of them are (or should be) a surprise, yet all of them require a new outlook such as letting the kids stay home alone, repainting the kitchen, cleaning out the closet (for real this time), learning new software, or downsizing our home. While we may find any “New Normal” to be emotionally, intellectually, or financially challenging, they are rarely a surprise.
Cancer is not like that. Cancer does not creep up. One day we think we are a healthy person (though perhaps with a bit of a bug or a thing) and the next we day we find out it’s Cancer. Cancer is not a rite of passage. Cancer is not something one aspires to. And, unfortunately, Cancer is never passé.
When we say “My Cancer”, it is not the same as saying, “My circumnavigation”, “My new sofa”, “My wedding”, or even “My divorce.” Cancer is not on anyone’s bucket list.
All too often, Cancer happens, and you and yours are suddenly thrust into a “New Normal”—one that is ever-changing and may continue for the rest of your (and your loved one’s) life. And like so many of these life events, it’s one that most of us can’t truly understand until it’s happened to us, or to our partner, child, sibling, parent, or other similarly loved individual.
Aboard La Luna, we have an unanticipated “New Normal”. On November 15, 2018, EW (my partner for 34 years and spouse for 32) was diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer. There is no “good” cancer, but this is one of the “not good” varieties. Trust me. Don’t Google it and look up even respected websites because you won’t like what you see. I didn’t.
It took a couple of weeks to learn just how far EW’s cancer had progressed (spoiler alert: Not That Far!), another two to get a plan in place, and about two more to start treatment. That’s really quick. We are very, very fortunate. Let me count the ways:
The artist says about this sculpture:
The forms that make up my
schulptualcircle are cut from the same block of stone. They symbolize people embracing, helping and supporting one another as a caring community.
As you can imagine, we already have a bunch of stories and teaching moments to share. Stories that are funny, infuriating, and hopeful—including one from one of our Heels and Tevas Members, who is currently getting used to a New Normal after cancer treatment and surgery. (All is good.)
Don’t worry. Heels and Tevas may have been going thru some growing pains and shifts lately, but we will not become an “All Cancer/All the Time” blog. (If I take it that far, I’ll do a new blog.) But, dang it, whether we want to admit it or not, life certainly includes twists we didn’t foresee and requires all of us to embrace a New Normal at any given moment.
The operative word in that last sentence is “requires”. Cancer absolutely requires you to make innumerable changes in your daily life, plans, finances, eating habits, and more. Nothing will remain the same. EW and I have decided it does not require us to despair, give up, or withdraw. We laugh every day, enjoy music, love living on the boat, and embrace family and friends with harder hugs and a stronger love. That’s all part of the New Normal.
By now even we who aren’t obsessing about the Young Royals have seen the infamous tag and fashion faux pas.
Yep, the newest Duchess stepped off a plane in Tonga with the store tag dangling from her dress and Social Media was all over it.
Most were understanding and “forgiving” of her, saying she must be so tired as a pregnant bride in her first official royal tour. Believe me, I’m not going to pile any blame on her either. Not only did Harry choose a commoner, but he also chose a smart, successful woman from our side of the pond. Plus, he chose a woman with public baggage. And be honest, ladies. Didn’t those of us over 60 secretly wonder what would happen if we’d met Prince Charles before he wed Diana? (O.K. Nothing. Nothing would have happened. Plus back then we didn’t know he had given his heart to Camilla. So fine.)
Back to the Tag fashion faux pas and the Blame. There are a whole bunch of reasons to get married, or even to move in with your Sweetie: love, lust, friendship, companionship, zipping up the back of your dress, AND PERFORMING A FINAL CLOTHING CHECK BEFORE AN EVENT.
This is a sore spot for me as EW is actually great about letting me know if an outfit is flattering or not and horrible about checking the little things. When we first moved aboard the boat in Maine, I cannot tell you how often I went to work with my slip showing or some other fashion faux pas. It got so bad, that I badgered the owners of the marina to install a full-length mirror in the common area. (Dora St. Martin, a Friend for Life and fellow liveaboard, called it the “Barbara Mirror” and got one installed in her new marina in Boston.)
Seriously, Prince Harry, when you embarked on this public marriage you agreed to help her negotiate steps and grass in her high heels, stand up for her against snarky tabloids, welcome her mom to England, and check her for slips, tags, bra straps, and other fashion faux pas. Harry, do your dang job.
And yes, I have not yet come to believe that bra straps should show and that there are rules. (I know this makes me old. Tough.)
Meghan, you looked great in that dress. Go take a nap—and stop scooching in heels while pregnant. That’s just scary on a whole lot of levels.
I had an epiphany on a recent (desperate—well kind of desperate) shopping expedition. It could, I hope, make shopping fun again and help all of us with that “capsule wardrobe”. I said, “Yes!” to the dress.