The beginning of a new year often prompts people to think about the future, what they want to do in the next 12 months, where they want to be in their lives.
These days, for someone in my position, the perspective has changed a bit.
It will be two years this January since I was diagnosed with a recurrence of cancer. Statistically, most folks in my position would be dead by now. So nyah, nyah, nyah on that.
But it is a challenge. Every day is a battle. Every day means getting up and changing the bandages on my chest, trying to put the right food in my body to fight cancer, and trying to keep a positive attitude because everyone says that's so important.
The other morning, though, I woke up and a stray thought crossed my mind as I slowly got out of bed.
A simple sentence, fairly definitive, pretty clear.
Yeah, that about sums it up.
It's not like everything is terrible. Things seem to be on a bit of an upswing. This current treatment seems to be working, although it makes me tired at times. The cancer on my chest -- which at its worst looked like month-old hamburger rejected by hungry carrion-eaters -- is mostly gone and pink flesh remains, although there's no skin there right now. It's inching back, like a fire victim.
My brother is back living with me full time (although that's more about a parting of the ways with his girlfriend -- and no loss there, in my opinion). This means I have a body I can order around like, 'Please clean the cat boxes' or 'Please take out the trash.'
And work is looking up. Our new managing editor has seemed to settle in OK. And we seem to be surviving financially.
I do think the folks at work, though, are getting pretty tired of me dropping like a rock on the floor. The first time I did it, a year and a half ago, led to four days in the hospital. The most recent, and second time, was just an episode of extreme lightheadedness brought on by chemo-induced anemia and my hidden desire to get my boss' heart gallumping again. A few moments on the floor, a few minutes in a chair and taking off my shoes brought me right as rain.
But I want it all gone, now. I want to be done with it, now. I don't want to have to wake up and immediately change bandages. I don't want to worry about which way to turn my body in case something pulls the wrong way. I don't want to watch every little bump with concern. I don't want to keep getting stuck with needles and have blood drawn and have nasty chemicals dripped into my vein.
Wah, wah, wah, this sucks. Say it loud now. This sucks!
But as they say in cancertown, this is my new reality, my new normal. And most days, I'm fine with it. I mean, really now, what choice do I have? I continue to highlight the positive, downplay the negative and live my life as best I can whether that's for another few months, or few years, or few decades.
I remember thinking during the 2008 Summer Olympics it might be the last Olympics I'd ever see. And what's coming up in a few weeks? The Winter Olympics. So nyah, nyah, nyah there, too.
They say cancer isn't for sissies. And it isn't. It's for strong, positive people who just do the best they can and thumb their nose at statistics whenever possible. It can be a wondrous, life-changing adventure that heightens your appreciation for family, friends and faith -- and how funny life and cancer can be.
But that doesn't mean it doesn't suck.
Kathleen L'Ecluse is the online/projects/opinion page editor of the Daily Republic. Reach her at 427-6933 or email@example.com.