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.
I am humbled. To all the gardeners out there, you rock. I’m not talking about the casual, “plant a daisy or two weekend gardeners”, although I’m sure you rock in other ways. I’m talking about those of you who take on the fight of reclaiming land from the wild, the eternal battle of beating back the poisonous, the invasive, and the just plain ugly. Damn. It’s tough. Or, as Agent K would say (Tommy Lee Jones in Men in Black), It’s “double-tough”.
I’ve been in my new house a year now. The house is a modest 2400 sf, give or take a foot. The lot, however, is ginormous by normal neighborhood standards. There’s about 2.5 acres. Clearly, I’m not trying to reclaim all 2.5 acres, at least not right away. I am, however, hell-bent on having a civilized looking yard around the house and at the street. That’s not much to tackle, is it?
Uhm. Yes. It IS a lot to tackle. Turning even a tiny patch of wild Texas land into something civilized is a lot of work. I learned my lesson; lessons to be exact.
“What did you learn?” you ask. Well:
I could go on, but I’ll save it for another post – and I’m sure you get the drift. I learn something every time I work in the yard. Please share your tips with me. I’d like to learn my lessons the smart way from now on – by listening to others who have gone before.
Bottom line; Gardening ain’t for no sissies.
I started reading this article about Amelia Earhart and the first club for female pilots and stopped at the first paragraph when it was mentioned that men who flew were simply pilots, and women were “girl pilots”.
“IN 1929, TWO YEARS AFTER pilot licensing began in the United States, there were 9,098 men licensed to fly, and just 117 women. Women who flew were often characterized as “girl pilots,” while newspaper reports focused on the color of their hair, or how they balanced aviation with housekeeping.”
Feeling like this is as good as it gets—and that’s not good enough? Do not give up on your future.