Long time no write…life swallowed me up for a few weeks. But I’m back.
You belong among the wildflowers
You belong somewhere close to me
Far away from your trouble and worries
You belong somewhere you feel free
Tom Petty’s music stands as a pillar of my young adulthood. This particular verse is from one of my favorite Petty songs and shines as a beacon for the magic of music. I’ve seen him a few times in concert with my family and those memories of singing the lyrics at the top of our lungs, playing air guitar, and sweating our butts off at outdoor venues represent some of the best times I can remember. Petty left us way too soon.
But when I think about those times, and so many others, I can’t help wishing that I could just feel free. Free from pain, from constant fatigue, from nausea, from stress–from cancer. I wish I felt free from all the thoughts that swirl in my head every day. And though I have learned to sort through those haunting, daunting thoughts, they still manage to slam like steel bars against my brain. I’m trapped. I fight every day for my life. I fight for my kids. But sometimes I feel like I’m in a prison banging on the door and no one can help me.
The happiest times in my life these days are most often the saddest times because I’m reminded that in no uncertain terms I don’t have unlimited opportunities to make those memories. It’s why I spend every minute I have with my family and friends. Although it’s not quite in the crisis mode it was a few years ago, I’m still trying to cram in all the memories I can as fast as I can. I’m in mach 5 speed on the regular.
The metastatic cancer cycle is different. We don’t have that celebratory moment of being free from disease. Metastatic breast cancer isn’t sexy. Pink October comes and goes every year. Shops have sales for breast cancer awareness month. Football players wear pink shoes. It’s one big sea of pink. Listen, don’t misunderstand me: while I am grateful for awareness and subsequently any dollars designated for cancer research, it simply cannot go unnoticed that only a small portion of funds raised in October goes towards metastatic cancer research. The majority of organizations doing fundraising are focused on honoring survivors and racing closer to a cure. But my Mets sisters and I don’t get wrapped in that pink ribbon. We are not curable. We’re on the outside of those survivor testimonials. We don’t fit into the campaign. It’s that reality that confines me to my cancer prison.
I know I have a rich life. It’s the norm for me to laugh so hard that I cry. I am not so sick that I can’t enjoy time with my squad. But I’ll never be free on this earth. So I work really hard to make every day count.
And someday I’ll fly free among the Wildflowers.