How about some real reflection during this new spin around the sun? Here are three prompts that I find helpful.
When you and I spend time together, I tend to move slower than you do, but I do not always require assistance. In your rush to carry my totebags out of politeness, you don’t realize how disoriented I get about where my phone and pillbox are, and a moving target just makes things harder for me. Carrying my own gear is also one small way to work my weakened muscles and practice coordination.
Jeans or jeggings? Short-sleeved tee-shirt or long-sleeved tunic? Miniskirt or maxidress? Until I entered the swirl of seemingly nonstop cancer appointments, I used to dress according to occasion and weather; but now, I base my choices on that day’s medical events.
Cough. Blow nose. Cancel plans. Rinse and repeat.
In my cancer circles, I frequently hear women lament a challenging treatment or “scanxiety,” which is nervousness or anxiety before a test about cancer progression. And they often end with the thought, “I do it all for my kids.” My “Why” comes from a different place: I do treatment for me.
In my dying, socializing asks more of me than I can often give. Like love, death is bigger than us. I am discovering that my end-of-life journey requires different energy and rhythms from my previous life patterns. I also do not desire your reassurance to “feel better” about my health situation, nor am I in a position to shoulder your grief.
My husband estimates that my innate worth has grown 47 cents due to the three new tiny gold seeds in my head (probably as close as I’ll ever get to wearing a tinfoil hat). This metal trio is smaller than rice and glued onto my skull to help point the radiation beam to the correct spot in my brain. My husband was delighted that the doctor jokingly said he could bring his own drill along.
Our Kids’ Almanac columnist Erica Chase-Salerno tells what it’s like to live when you know that you are dying.
When it comes to information about my condition, I don’t want story – I want science! Seeing the screen myself, I was able to integrate the doctor’s reporting with actual numbers along with visuals.
Making arrangements for what happens to one’s body after death is difficult, but, once complete, the feeling is liberating.