It's been almost 4 months since I've written to you, my followers, and I wanted to give you some insights into "what is taking me so long." I also want to chat about this notion of "spending time" and what it means to me. Heads up, this may be a longer one than usual.
First, a little bit of background: In October, I decided to stop chemo and conventional medical treatments. It was becoming clear to us that they were not working anymore. The doc said 2-3 months and I said "I can beat that!" That same month I "signed in" to hospice (at-home) care. Combined, these have been good for me since I no longer have the side effects of treatment and I am getting routine care focused on making my quality of life and comfort the best it can be, and I'm about 4 months into this journey. Now, back to spending time.
We know that the amount of time we live is finite so when we consider time to be a resource, we know that we are dealing with a limited quantity of it and that it should be utilized thoughtfully. This is one of the reasons this blog has been a bit silent. The idea of spending time writing and on social media is one that can easily be overcome by the idea of spending facetime with family and friends. In my last posts, you'll see that this is a priority; so, the family and I spent the next 2 1/2 months (Oct - Jan) focused on exactly that.
We ventured on an absolutely wonderful trip to Hawaii over Thanksgiving break (Bucket List - check). While in Hawaii, I caught up with my super sun-shiny friend Jess who made the trip even more delightful as she guided us around some of her favorite spots on the island of O'ahu. For Thanksgiving, Jess and her husband, Chuck, invited us to share a delicious meal with a few of their friends before touring Hickam, Patriotism Park, and the Missing Man formation. Leading up to Christmas and the New Year, my dad, Carl, my dad, Mark, and my mom and her husband, Kathleen and Doug, all came to visit us at our house in Iowa. This time was amazing and time I consider "well spent!"
In mid-January, things became challenging. I was having trouble figuring out what was next for me and what can I hope for going forward. Was I going to have enough time to make it to our birthdays (Feb and March)? Should I try to look farther in the future for something to hold onto knowing that might not be realistic given the changes that were happening to me physically? Or should I say, I made it past the holidays and then get ready to die? My body definitely seemed to be taking me toward death as the escape route. Seriously, this was not a good place for me to be in and I knew I needed to make the decision to live and persevere or let go and succumb. The choice is obvious to most of you, but I can honestly say I gave both options reasonable consideration knowing where I'm going after I die. I spent a lot of time thinking a lot about time. It helped me build back that foundation of why I still want to live. I'd committed myself to making the changes necessary to struggle on and live fully in the moment. Was it really difficult, yes. Was that time well spent, yes.
The most important thing we can take away from this is that we have a choice, always. The choice is ours to spend time well utilizing it for the priorities in our lives or waste time spending it on superficial things we hope will make us happy. What will you choose?