I actually wrote this yesterday but never got around to posting it...
It’s a beautiful day in New York City. The sun is shining bright and there’s a slight breeze. The temperature is not too hot, not too cold – it’s so ideal that if it were measured based on the PH scale it would be a neutral seven. Does that comparison even make sense? I don’t know, I am just trying to get the point across that the weather is absolutely perfect today. Instead of sitting in the frigid air conditioned office, I headed outdoors for my lunchbreak. I decided to walk to a store about a mile away that sells this phenomenal tofu sandwich. No, that’s not a mistake having the words “phenomenal”and “tofu” together in a sentence – this sandwich rocks my world! Not only is today beautiful but it’s also been exactly one month since I have been officially declared ‘cancer free’ or NED (no evidence of disease). I love NED, he’s a hottie. It's a one month anniversary, this gives me the excuse to drink champagne, correct?
As I was walking, weaving my way through the people scattered throughout the sidewalk, I realized that I was walking the same path I used to walk months ago when I was going to Bellevue Hospital trying to find out what that huge lump on my collarbone was. Every couple of weeks I would throw on my heavy jacket and wooly scarf, face the winter temperatures, and head east across the avenues – Broadway, 6th, 5th, Madison, Park, Lexington, 3rd, 2nd, and finally 1st. Once I made it to 1st avenue somewhere in the 20’s, I would hesitatingly stroll into the hospital knowing very well I was about to encounter frustration, anxiety, and most likely a needle or ten. For a couple of months I would go there for random appointments, CT scans, follow-ups, needle biopsies, a biopsy that they forgot about one time and couldn’t fit me in that day and I ended up fainting from blood work instead, and then one more biopsy. It was downright depressing because I would go there hoping for an answer (and a good answer like I had an infection) and I would leave so puzzled and distraught with no answer at all. The incompetent doctors there were poking and prodding me like they were playing that board game Operation and every time it would buzz it meant another doctor was just so stumped and his answers and conclusions were all wrong. You look healthy and you're young, it's probably nothing. Which lymph node am I removing from your neck again? What's your name? Oh, you've been here before?
Although I walked down those same streets, in the same direction – it was different. The clouds had dissipated and I was left standing in the sunlight, except the clouds took months to finally disappear.
I know I compare and contrast a few months ago to the present pretty often, but it’s to always remind myself to appreciate my life now and the fact that I am alive and well – I made it through. Walking outdoors today I was reminiscent of the feelings of overwhelming joy I had exactly a month ago being told I was cancer free. I never, ever want to forget what I felt like on that day, so I will hold onto it forever. Always be thankful for your health and always remind yourself of one of your most beloved days and hold onto it. As time passes by you may forget how you felt on a special day you had, or you don't think about it too often, but give yourself a little gift and remind yourself constantly. Then, look forward to all of the special days you have ahead of you. It's easy to capture memories with photographs but nothing compares to remembering how you actually felt in that very moment that came and went so quickly.