(Alternate titles include: Fuck You 2016 but that was taken, Bad Hair
Day Year, and That Time I Had Cancer.)
Today marks one year since I received that phone call. Those three words that changed my life forever – for the good, the bad, and the ugly (because let’s be honest, shit got pretty nasty looking). I know what you’re thinking, You Won $1,000,000,000 is a wonderful thing to hear! You may also be thinking, Elissa, you cheated by writing it numerically. But no, I’m referring to that time on December 22, 2015 when a faceless woman nonchalantly uttered the words, You Have Cancer.
It has been the longest shortest year of my life. I’ve lived every day waiting for the next – six rounds of chemo, 25 rounds of radiation, three more Herceptin infusions, three more months until my next surgery, nine months and nine more years of Tamoxifen. My mantra became, if I could just get to ________. What a strange way to live.
How in one year can a person experience so much darkness and such profound enlightenment? How in the span of a day can you age 40 years and regress back to childhood? My pendulum swings between gratitude and anger, wisdom and immaturity.
A couple months ago something prompted me to ask the question, what are the three most important things in life? (Don’t judge, I think I was in one of those dark, Tamoxifen spirals.) The question stuck with me, so here are my answers:
Love, I truly believe is the foundation of our essence. Time is always too short. Health, I will never take you for granted.