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 http://www.cancergrace.org/ 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.