Life is short! Live it like you mean it!
I love this quote. As we’ve negotiated this journey of Dan’s cancer, we have sometimes sprinted, sometimes hopped left then right, sometimes taken one step forward and two steps back and, often, just limped along. We have truly learned that adjusting our sails is the only way to get through this and maintain some semblance of sanity.
Cancer affects every part of life for everyone involved: the patient, the caretaker, the family members and the friends. We’ve tried very hard not to let the “C” word take over our thoughts or conversations. It’s a new member of our family, it will forever remain a part of our lives, but it will not control our lives.
It can be frustrating to reschedule, and reschedule again, our calendar: day-to-day activities, events we wanted to attend, family and friends we’d hope to visit and, of course, our travel plans. Once upon a time, losing control over anything would have driven me up the wall. Control was my middle name and I clung to it as a child clings to her favorite teddy bear. But God is good and He showed me how to let go, just in time to receive Dan’s diagnosis. And as a result of that blessing, I have learned that I don’t own our plans. If we’re unable to attend an event, or a trip gets delayed or canceled, I can take a big breath -- and let it go, because I know the Lord has control and He’s got our back. I don’t know His plan, but I trust in it and I trust in Him.
From the beginning of our relationship, Dan and I knew we wanted to travel in our “retirement.” Once the kids were all out on their own, we began taking a cruise or two each year – but the wanderlust in us was fierce! It made us crave more adventures and more experiences. We became travel addicts.
We’re blessed that we were able to travel a great deal during the past four or five years. But the more we traveled, the more we hungered to travel. The more adventures we had, the more we thirsted for. So many places to see, so many experiences – our bucket list became a living organism, constantly growing!
And then Dan’s diagnosis: Stage Four, Lymphatic Leukemia.
Talk about a smack in the face! But, again, I can only credit the Lord’s work on me over the past few years: at no point in this journey have I been afraid. I can honestly say that I know we’ll get through this. He has a purpose for this bump in the road. Our family and friends have been so supportive – they’ve given us strength and they’ve stormed the gates of Heaven with their prayers.
And God is faithful – He listens, and He continues to bless us with His grace and mercy. After six rounds of chemotherapy, Dan reached remission. It doesn’t mean he is cured. He will never be cured. We know the cancer which, right now, is simply lying dormant in his body will, at some point, decide to wake up and be noticed. And he’ll start chemo again. But right now, today, he is in remission. So, we celebrate that and take advantage of this lull so we can enjoy a few more adventures.
Our highly anticipated cross-country road trip has been temporarily delayed. (I say delayed as opposed to canceled because it will remain on our Bucket List until we can check it off as completed.) At some point, you simply must look at all the things you have “planned” and get real with what can be accomplished. Our primary objective for this road trip (aside from just enjoying the countryside and each other!) was to visit my dad and brother in Arizona. We planned on taking our time coming home, stopping to explore whatever came our way. But both my dad and I worried whether Dan was up to such a long drive. Sometimes our hearts tell us one thing and our bodies say WHOA PONY!
As it turns out, my dad and brother decided to make a few detours on their way to Virginia Beach to close out my dad’s old house to prepare it for sale. Coming to see us will be one of their detours. I am so thankful to them because, as much as I was looking forward to our big adventure, I really was worried that it might be too much for Dan. God works in mysterious ways. The road trip just moved down a few slots on the Bucket List.
And so, we continue to adjust our sails. We can’t control the wind but we can control our response. And every day we choose to adjust rather than let the wind blow us away!
Speaking of our Bucket List, one of the things we want to do, at some point, is take the Bourbon Trail through Kentucky. This was one of my father-in-law’s Bucket List items – in fact, it was the last item on his list. He and my mother-in-law took the Bourbon Trail several months before he passed, very unexpectedly. My dad and brother want to do it with us, so it’s something we hope we can schedule sometime next year.
Have you ever done the Bourbon Trail? If so, please be sure to let us know (use our comment section)! We’d love to hear about your experience! If not – our July 15th E-Zine feature article may encourage you to add it to YOUR Bucket List!
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Terie & Dan
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