What do I do now?

Treatment-done!

No tri-weekly chemo infusions.

No oral pills.

No nausea, vomiting, or fatigue!

This is this summer's highlights.

On the last day of my chemo infusion, I asked the oncologist, "What do I do now?"  It wasn't happiness I was feeling, it was fear. Regardless of the fact that the end of the treatment was nearing, I feared that without the continuous bombardment of drugs and poisons in my body, I would always be wondering whether it came back and filled my body again with carcinogens.

My oncologist was amazingly patient and caring. She leaned in and said, "Live!"

Shocked, I met her eyes and asked, "How? How exactly do I do that?"

She matter of factly said, "You go outside, you travel, you spend time with the people you want to spend time with, you go to work, you live!"

It has taken me over a month to grasp and wrestle with her words. I've never been afraid of anything, never feared life or death, speed or the unknown, but the idea that I should now go off and "live," felt foreign.

It wasn't until last week when I tried it.

I planned a beach day for the kids. I packed a vegan lunch to have on the sand.  We drove out to Manhattan beach where hubby and I spent the day cuddling under an umbrella as the kids dug holes, and jumped waves. I think I was the only one on the shore covered head to foot and wearing a jacket to boot, but I didn't care. Watching their excitement brought genuine joy.

Sitting there, breathing, thinking, praying, I wondered whether this is what my doctor meant!

When my boys approached us to thank us for their amazing day, I almost started sobbing. They have been so understanding and loving through this entire ordeal, sometimes I am at a loss for words at their maturity.

I inhaled slowly, exhaled even slower and said, "It's not over. I've planned another activity for you. Once we are done here, we are taking you to a nearby rope course and wall climbing hub, we'll just pretend the beach was day one of your vacation and the obstacle course is day two."

They were overjoyed. I fed off of their excitement. After sanding them off we headed to Adventure Plex, where I sat back and took in their emotions once more. Excitement brimmed. They wore harnesses, climbed a rope wall, balanced on wires. Hearing them laugh, gasp, and just enjoy the day infused me with life and energy. And when the day came to an end, I felt one step closer to the doctor's prophetic statement.

I felt like I knew the secret to life, I knew how to "live." All I had to do was to lose myself in joy and happiness. Just as I spend time watching the hummingbirds and blue jays fly about my garden, I need to take time daily to surrender to the current moment and let joy fuel my soul.

I did that this weekend. My 8 Faces wanted a celebration, something to mark the end.  I planned a life luau to share my love with them, and to revel in their joy. Honestly, the best part of the evening is when I stood back and watched the synergy in my garden, the laughter, jokes, and happiness filled the empty recesses of my heart with newfound hope.

I look forward to seeing my oncologist again in September for I can't wait to share with her how I began to live again, embraced in the love and happiness of others.

I see truth these days- life is short, stress is suicidal, life/love/joy are the paths to healing.  I want to thank my 8 Faces for walking this long path and for filling it with nonstop laughter as I continue to just "live."


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