It was innocuous enough, that tiny note in the far corner of my monthly calendar sitting open on my desktop computer. I looked again to be sure. Yep, there is was. The small yellow-orangish glow outlined the even smaller black characters that I see once a year: “Diagnosis 3-18-11.” It’s an annual reminder I could probably do without.
But here we are. Six years later.
It cannot be emphasized enough how the magical combination of excellent healthcare providers, pharmaceuticals, and a huge dose of good luck has kept me alive all this time. Seriously. Few women are diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer and live to tell. But tell I did.
A long-time friend from the East Coast texted me bright and early this morning to say she stayed up all night reading Not All Bad Comes to Harm You. It had been sitting on her nightstand waiting for the perfect moment, as most books do. Mine was no exception. After telling me she loved it and was going to get a copy for a friend, she wrote, “I didn’t think I wanted or needed to read another book about cancer, but your book is SO much more! Please stay alive to write more books . . .”
Barely awake in California, I stood barefoot on the cold kitchen floor, contemplating her message while sipping at a tiny cup of hot espresso. “Please stay alive to write more books . . .”
Yes. I’d like that. It is my fervent wish.
But each new day is another wrestling match with the cobra as she tries again and again to slither her way out of the basket. I hold the lid firmly shut, feeling her knock about inside. When she flicks the lid sideways for a moment I see her beady eyes watching me. Shifting. Then still. No quick movements, I remind myself, backing away slowly to slip back downstairs where the glow of my computer screen waits for the next jumble of words to fall from my fingertips.
She won’t stop me. Not today.
Today I will write.
And I will keep on writing. And writing. And writing some more — until that second book finds its way into the hearts and hands of those who share our greatest common purpose — to find the truth of who we are, and to live the joyful life we are meant to live.
Slowly, but surely, it’s coming.
We each have things in our lives that threaten to derail us, annihilate us, or put us in our place. But it is up to us to choose whether to keep the lid on them, or unleash them to rule our lives.
Today, my lid stays on.