Monday, May 29, 2017

Four.

Four years ago today I was diagnosed with lung cancer. We wouldn't find our for several days just how bad it was. This time four years ago I was still under the false impression that the cancer was contained in my left lung, that I would be facing chemo and the removal of my lung. That we would be aiming for a cure.

We wouldn't know for several days that it had spread to the other lung, to my spine, my hip, my shoulder blade, my ribs, and my liver. We didn't know yet that the cancer was incurable. We hadn't yet thought of the word "terminal."

The statistics for Stage IV lung cancer are sobering. According to the American Cancer Society, the 5 year survival rate for metastatic lung cancer is 1%. The Lung Cancer Association cites more optimistic figures at 4%.

We had a big, heartbreaking loss in the lung cancer community yesterday. The red headed unicorn, the force of nature, the woman who inspired so many of us, Kim Ringen died yesterday, just a few days short of her 4 year cancerversary. It's hard to celebrate mine when I know she and so many others will not.

So today I'm trying to turn the sadness into thankfulness. We spent the weekend putting in our backyard vegetable garden, and with each turn of the soil I thought about how lucky I am to be able to dig in the dirt, to plant and nurture new life. I try to accept that I need to pace myself, even though my physical limitations frustrate me (as Zander put it, "Mama, you take A LOT of breaks).

Kiddos hard at work

The Garden
I remind myself how much sicker I was four years ago at this time, when I would gasp for air after taking more than a few steps, when I was too weak to stand in the shower, when even a conversation would leave me short of breath.

I remember all this, I think of all the friends who I have lost, and I remember how very lucky I am to be here four years later.

4 comments:

Mary Koral said...

Tori,

I am crying... good tears. You remind me of gratitude. And you remind me that is necessary and not wimpish to take breaks. I get frustrated doing that. But, like you, I am MUCH better than I was on diagnosis. I think the thing you caught though was that we DIDN"T KNOW... assumed it would be fixed somehow. I will keep the red headed unicorn in my meditation and you and your family are always there. We mulch with straw too and have been working in the garden.

dearmaizie said...

Your story is so inspiring and your children are so lucky to have a mom like you. Beautiful post.

Anna said...

Nice post..

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