Last year, I had a great Christmas. My parents and my brother and his family all came here to celebrate in Virginia. Thanks to a friend’s cousin, they had a lovely place to stay just a mile or two away. We laughed, exchanged gifts, went to church, and ate and ate and ate. Two days after Christmas I headed in to start the second half of my chemo treatments. And it never once occurred to me to worry that it would be my last Christmas.
This Christmas, we resumed our normal travel schedule. Surprisingly, this is the year I was more contemplative, more mindful of every little detail. I guess after all the recipe writing at Thanksgiving, it shouldn’t surprise me. And since last Christmas, I’ve lost a sweet friend to breast cancer and watched another restart her time in the chemo chair after a recurrence. I was trying to reassure myself– thinking of the differences between my disease and theirs. To be fair, I was diagnosed at an earlier stage and had a complete pathologic response at surgery, which is a big deal. My oncologist told me as much several times over at my last appointment. My outlook is good, just because other people don’t do well doesn’t mean I won’t.
Yet no matter how intellectual I try to be, sometimes the emotional side– even though I know it’s completely irrational– creeps in. And as intellect was warring with emotion inside my mind on Christmas Eve, I remembered this tee (no longer available, but the artwork is available here) from LilBlueBoo. Of course, I’m sure that it was meant to tell little girls that they don’t need to conform to society’s views of beauty and popularity. But in that moment, I was reminded that my story can be very different from everyone else’s. There is only one of me in all time.