Friday, March 4, 2016

Time for me

Way back in July when I got my treatment plan and realized I would have to cut back on work and stop teaching dance for a while, I thought it was a great opportunity to take some time for myself, work on my books, take the college class I'd signed up for, etc. But I was sorely mistaken. As many of you know who have followed my journey, I spent a lot of the past eight months in bed being lethargic or in pain. When I was able to get on the computer, I had to spend most of that time catching up on the remaining work I had because I was always behind. If I was lucky, I had time for a blog post. I certainly didn't have time for working on the books, and I dropped the college class because there was just no way. And keep up on my exercise? psht!

Although I've had all this time off, and it was all me, me, me as I shared my tales of woe, I feel like none of it was really "me time." I didn't get to do much of anything I wanted to do with that time. Well, other than movies and eating out and visiting with friends and stuff, but I didn't get to accomplish anything I wanted to (beating cancer doesn't count. That wasn't part of my life plan.) Nearly a year of my life, just gone. POOF! So now, as treatment comes to an end, I get to take some time for ME.

If there's a positive that comes from this, it's that I feel like I have a second chance at having the life I want, cliche though that might be. Of course, having Michael's support is a huge part of what makes that possible. But for the first time in my life, I not only get to decide what I want to do with myself since I don't need to work 60 hours a week anymore, I also have the benefit of appreciating that it's now or never.

It occurred to me the other night that I could have died from this, and if I had, what did I accomplish with my life? Not enough. Not nearly enough. There have been so many things I wanted to do over the years, and I never got around to it. I didn't have the time, or the money, or didn't think I could do it, or whatever. I look at elderly people at the end of their lives, and I wonder if they wish they'd done more. I think of my fellow warriors who lost their battle, and I wonder if they were satisfied with their life. I think it's so sad when you get to the end and you just don't have any more chances to get out and live and learn and enjoy. As far as I know, we only get one trip on earth. I intend to make the next 40 years or so good ones!

One thing I've wanted to do my whole life was learn to play piano, so I recently started doing just that. I'm also working on singing again, something I'd started a couple years ago and dropped. I'm going to expand my dance horizons, starting with a tap class in a week or two. I'm going to get my third book published--it's in the editing stage right now. I'll also be converting this blog to a book eventually. Oh, and of course I have a marathon to train for. There will be more, but I don't want to get too far ahead of myself!

Of course, my new life doesn't start on Tuesday just because I'm done with treatment. I need time to adjust. I've spent 8 months fighting, and there's likely to be an emotional let down when it's done. I need time to process that, as well as to heal. The whole right side of my chest is dark red, even purple in spots. The patch of raw skin under my arm is starting to heal, thank God, but it's still very uncomfortable. It will take a long time to reclaim my body, so I'll take it in baby steps. I'll keep my work load light so I can take the time I need, as well as finish up a couple projects I'm embarrassingly late on. And then? Well, I'll let Timbuk 3 say it for me...

Oh, and then there's the party! Come celebrate with me!


  1. Congratulations on completing your treatment, Jennifer! As my wife awaits starting the final radiation phase of her treatment in two weeks, I continue to follow your story given how similar your two paths are. We can absolutely empathize with your views on "me time" coupled with the relief but anxiety at being done with treatment. After nearly a year of great doctors "watching over and taking care," it will definitely be an adjustment. But, all in all, it must feel great to be done so you can now move on and use YOUR time to do those "normal" things that are so important and dear. Thank you for sharing your story. It is helpful to so many. And if we don't hear from you in awhile, that's a great thing, right? It means you're doing life stuff - not cancer stuff - and that's what it's all about! Take care... J&S - Minnesota

    1. Best of luck to her! I hope she has an easier time than I did. Lots of women do!