Sunday, September 11, 2011

Anniversaries Ass Backwards

Today is the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.  I've been reading about the reminiscences and memorial events for at least the past two weeks, and have even posted elsewhere about what I was doing at the time and my reactions.  But what I haven't said was crystallized for me by another participant in a fora earlier this week.  She noted that living  with advanced cancer she sometimes wonders if a given anniversary will not be the tenth or the twentieth, but perhaps the last.  That's a feeling that I can deeply identify with.   

I've been lucky in so far as I've outlived the median life expectancy for someone diagnosed with Stage IIIB non small cell carcinoma.  It will be two years since the diagnosis on September 18, 2009.  Median life expectancy is somewhere between 13 to 18 or 21 months depending on which expert you consult.  I've been able to witness certain milestones such as my daughter graduating from medical school,  but with the ending of the 4th line treatment and moving to yet another chemotherapy that simply kills fast growing cells generally rather than specifically target my particular type of cancer, I'm uncertain how much longer the luck will hold out.  It's not that there is such a treatment at this point, but my cancer seems to overcome  the killing fast growing cells types of therapy rather handily.

Perhaps my children will never marry or have kids of their own, but I expect that to be the exception rather than the rule.  I'd like to be around to be a part of it.  Life isn't fair, as I used to tell them ten years ago when they were younger and I thought I knew better.  But I no longer can employe selective amnesia concerning the fact of my own mortality, as I used to with such facility.  It doesn't have the stark immediacy of what those in the towers faced on 9/11 but it grinds on inexorably.  The trick is not to count the moments, whether backwards or forward, but to experience them for what they offer in and of themselves.

So I don't think I will be going to any anniversary commemorations later today.  I'm just not in the mood.


Laura said...

Hi Gina,

I'm thinking of you on this fateful day. For many reasons. Keep strong.


Anonymous said...

There is a phrase I heard once. "Blessed be." I read your posting just now and it came to mind. I suppose that phrase can mean anything, from whatever level of consciousness we find ourselves in, but since it jumped into my head, I decided to share it.

Have you ever done centering prayer? It's a form of meditation that is TM exactly, but with a mantra chosen by the person practicing it. I know because I am a 41 year TMer and who read the centering prayer instructions and realized it was the same technique. Then I tried it - same results - more peace, more lovingness, all the good things. One doesn't need to be religious to practice either CP or TM, but TM is now 1,000 dollars to learn, and CP is zero. You are probably up to speed on all of this. There isn't much that you aren't up to speed on! Your life as written here is surprising and fascinating to me, because I identify with it so strongly, other than the fact that you did more in the world.

I have a feeling there is a lot more in store for you, Regina.

This doesn't need to be made public, I only write these notes for you.

XO Bonnie

Dan Matyola said...

I don't blame you for being a bit down, but I know your spirit and your spunk will return. ("I hate spunk." -- Lou Grant)

Your courage and strength helped you to beat the odds so far, and my prayers are with you as you continue to fight this relentless enemy.

Live Strong.

Lt Dan

Stephanie said...

Oh dear - first the Emmauel video than this. Very touched.