Posted in cancer

Changes

I’m sometimes amazed how things come together. I’ll mentally compose odd little snippets here and there, thinking “This is good. It’s just a part of something, but this is good and I must write it down.” A thought here. Another there. Then the final epiphany that makes is all cohesive. 

That’s how this happened….

Changes.

Cue David Bowie song….

Change can be scary. Actually, let me reword that; Change IS scary. In the end, we all want the same thing, right? To be loved, cherished, secure, respected…probably have a good amount of sex. These are our basic human needs. Of course we have other needs as well, but this takes us right to the nitty gritty.

So change…wow. It can be terrifying, at any age. The perspective about change also changes.  Change at age 20 or 30 might mean a delayed potential partner to have kids with, whereas a change in your 40’s can offer excitement, a breath of fresh air. 

And then, we have change in your 50’s.  Bloody terrifying!

Add to that, having cancer, and the decision to make changes can be paralyzing.

Is it better, though , to stay in a relationship out of fear of change? Everything stays status quo; you do the same things you always do, go about your separate lives, different interests,  in a somewhat loveless relationship while living under one roof, perhaps numb yourself into denial, turning a blind eye to everything that aggravates you about your partner?

You may not even realize you’re doing this, that’s the crazy part! You might even attempt occasional sex, though your body might then tell you in its subtle ways that something is wrong. Something is missing and you don’t even know when or, at times, why it happened. 

Sometimes you have to make those scary decisions; Is this how I want to live my life? In my case, it could be a handful of years, or a couple of decades. I’ve often found myself making decisions based on fear,  on the thought that my life has been shortened by cancer, when in fact, my chances continue to improve.  

So, is it possible that I’ll have a long lifespan? If I do, and I look back on my life, would I want to go back and kick my 50 year old ass for not having made changes?

This is where we now stand. Fifty, and starting over again, this time with what will always be called stage 4 kidney cancer.  Fifty, and making decisions not based on fear, but hope. Decisions carefully weighed, debated, delayed and eventually made. 

A big question I’ve had to grapple with is; do I even want to date? Who the hell, in their right mind, would even want to date someone with stage 4 kidney cancer, even if it is shrinking? What if it stops shrinking, starts to grow and spread again?

So this brings us back to our basic needs. I used to think that if I started over yet again, I wouldn’t date, for the reasons stated above.  But then, I think, what if I make it to 70. Would my 70 year old self look back and want to kick my own ass again for not allowing new love back into my life?

I wonder why I keep coming back to this point.  

Then I wonder, is it so terrible to stay single? Many people do it and are perfectly happy.  Could I be one of those happy, single people? I certainly have interests now that fill my day. 

But at the end of the day, when you crawl into a cold, empty bed, and shift all the way into the middle of the king size, just because you can…do you think “oh my gosh, this is amazing?” Or do you think “Wow, this sure is lonely? 

Or, perhaps a third thought, “This is great, but it’ll be even better when I have someone to snuggle with, once I’ve healed.” Maybe even a fourth thought, “I wouldn’t mind someone in my bed every once in a while.”

There’s no right or wrong answer. It all comes down to personal choices, preferences, needs and wants. Personal decisions made, not based on fear, but hope, desire, passion, purpose.  

How one even dates at age 50 with cancer is beyond me.  “Hey, there, good looking, you know I have a pretty good life insurance policy…” I’m guessing that’s not a good pick up line?

Yes, it is terrifying, starting over.  But, it can also be exciting and a chance for wonderful new opportunities, adventures, and hope. My rose quartz crystal and the tarot card I pulled both promise me that a great love is on the horizon.

And so, I wait. I heal. I keep an open mind. I hope, and I open my heart to the possibility.

Photo credit: Jack Moreh