We’re here in April 2013 and shortly we are going to pass several notable five year anniversaries. June will mark five years from the time that we first knew I had Hodgkins Lymphoma, July the start of my treatment at BCCA and November my first pronouncement of NED (No Evidence of Disease). These are indeed important anniversaries and thinking of them puts me in mind of how cancer has changed me.
When I was presented with my cancer diagnosis there was a realization that there would be changes… changes in my physical condition (up to and including possible death), changes in my point of view, and changes in priority. I have one vivid memory of sitting in a dinghy with Cassie just before I was to begin treatment and us discussing that, when my treatment was over, whatever that result might be, that we would consider what those changes in priority might be. However, after the ordeal of treatment and all the highs and lows, I found my values largely unchanged. I discovered that I loved the life that I had built (or happened upon by lucky chance… in the case of Cassie) and just wanted more of it. However, without my realizing it, some subtle changes had occurred.
I have been an avid and passionate sailor since the age of 10. I have owned a succession of sailing dinghies in Ontario, was a regular racing crew member here in Victoria at Royal Victoria Yacht Club (RVYC) and purchased, along with Cassie, my dream sailboat Darwin’s Folly in 2005. I started a blog to describe my sailing experiences here http://darwinsfolly.wordpress.com/ but abandoned the effort more than three years ago. More on this shortly.
The day that I received my cancer diagnosis we were preparing to go to Wednesday night racing at RVYC in June 2008. My doctor called and said she had looked at my X-rays and they indicated that I had lymphoma. We did not go racing that evening and I have not been racing since. Though I have tried to get back the passion and desire for the sport since then, it all has seemed like going through the motions. We love our friends from the sport and continue to hang out with them. However, my drive to leave the dock in our boat has evaporated.
This is a change that I would not have expected… nor is it welcome. However, there it is. If I could have speculated what changes in priorities and views that would have resulted, this is the last one that I would have come up with. So, if I’m looking for a moral for this particular post, it’s that you won’t know how you are going to feel in a situation until you are actually in the situation and feeling it. And that includes remission from cancer. 🙂
(Turn and face the strain)
Pretty soon you’re gonna get a little older
Time may change me
But I can’t trace time
I said that time may change me
But I can’t trace time” David Bowie