My life has always been about the party. Adulthood, a demanding career, and parenthood interfered in this a bit, but I still managed to find life extremely amusing. I love traveling, learning new things, cooking delicious food, and ANYTHING that makes me laugh. I am VERY happily married to the love of my life (that’s for you Mark), and mom to two pretty amazing teenagers. I was working in a rewarding career as an elementary school teacher. So, imagine my surprise when cancer came uninvited to my party. Me! Home gardener and chef of delicious organic food. Farmer’s market shopper. Non-smoker. Red wine drinker. Ok, the last one might be pushing it. All I can say is WHAT THE @#%&*!!
At age 48, I was living it up at Walt Disney World with my family when I felt a sharp pain in my side. It continued throughout the week and because my nature is to be stubborn, I ignored it and finished my vacation. We returned home and celebrated Christmas with our extended family. The pain continued so on December 26th, I asked my husband to take me to the ER. I consulted my best friend, Mrs. Google, and she told me that I probably had gallstones based on the symptoms. Really people, don’t always trust Mrs. Google. While a great resource, she will lead you astray.
After multiple tests in the ER, and a few more doctor’s visits over the coming weeks, I was diagnosed with Metastatic Colon Cancer. I had large masses in my liver and small ones in my lungs. It was treatable, but not curable. So…not gallstones…stage IV colon cancer. It was terrifying to head into the ER with what I assumed was a minor problem, and walk out with cancer. Needless to say, even for this eternal optimist, it was a hard pill to swallow. Fortunately, I live in Columbus, Ohio and we have a fantastic cancer center affiliated with The Ohio State University. Because my husband advocated for me and called everyone we know for help and advice, I was able to begin my cancer treatment within two weeks of diagnosis. I am thankful for awesome medical care and health insurance, because it has allowed me to continue the party of life.
Fast forward to today. It has been two years since my diagnosis. There have been dark days and days full of good news. Over that time, I came to the realization that my blessings far outweigh my burdens. I have felt the intense love of family, friends, and medical care givers. I have retired from teaching and focused on putting myself first. I try my best not to give cancer the power and to laugh in its face! So this blog is not about cancer. Because cancer is only a minuscule portion of my life. So small it is hardly worth talking about. This blog is a love letter to this great adventure called life. It is about all the things I love: my family, friends, travel, food, learning, and most of all: Laughing.