I don’t want to be young again. All I want is to continue getting older.

There is something about a cancer diagnosis which makes you jump back to the past in search for that elusive “what-if”. Luckily I have wanted only one thing since I was three years old, and that is to get to be very, very old.

“My best birthdays of all are the one’s I am still looking forward to celebrating!” ~Kat Caverly

No one could tell me how much longer I had before I got cancer. I’m not going to let anyone tell me how long I got left now. I still want to get to be very, very old. Some thing’s don’t change.

So, yes, I’m not going to think about dying. I didn’t think about it before and I sure don’t want to think about it now. Half of my chances of still living a happy, even healthy life are up to me, my actions, my thoughts. The other half is up to this cancer and to 21st century medical science.

The first time I heard the word cure in relationship to my situation, was in the sentence, “If it’s Stage IV we can’t cure it.” I haven’t heard the word again since I was downgraded to a Stage II. Some claim no one can actually cure breast cancer. I don’t know about that, but I do know there were never any guarantees.

The fact is I’ve always dreaded the possibility of getting breast cancer, but there are some risk factors I just couldn’t change, like being a woman. I realized after twenty years of yearly tests, mammograms do not prevent breast cancer. I also know that my positive point of view and lifestyle can’t cure cancer.

One thing for sure, I am not going to live in fear. I haven’t since my grandmother died of breast cancer in 1966, nor since the first biopsy in 1972, or after the second in 2003. I haven’t even lived in fear since being told I could be facing Stage IV breast cancer, which meant living with treatments for the rest of my life. No fear. Or at least that’s how it feels. What I am feeling doesn’t even feel like courage.

Life is a calculated risk. We make these calculations every waking hour and on most days we even make life and death decisions. We just don’t usually see it that way. None of us get to be alive and not die eventually. It’s the price we pay for being alive, and we know it. Still death is an imponderable. As long as we are alive, we cannot truly comprehend what it means to be dead. We can fear the unknown, or admit we deal with it every day. Of course mostly we use denial to deal with the unknown.

“There are realities, but then there is stubborn perseverance. Never underestimate the power of the will to live.”

Sticking my fingers in my ears, and singing la-la-la-la, I laugh in the face of knowing I am going to die. I may even die of breast cancer. Who knows. But I do know one thing, for sure and certain. I am going to live my life to its fullest, facing the luck of the daily draw.

I have treated my body like I’m going to live to be 150 years old for the past twenty years. Not because I think I can live that long, but because however old I get to be I plan to dance through life singing my own song at the top of my lungs.

Some people are afraid of getting old, when others won’t even get the chance. Youth is overrated. I have never wanted to be young again. And, yes, I still just want to get to be very, very old.

 
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