I am feeling lucky...and it’s a good thing because I’m in Vegas for my annual holiday trip with my husband. Every year we go to Vegas for 2 nights around the holidays to let loose. Last year the holiday cheer turned into holiday nightmare because it was in Vegas when I found out I had breast cancer. It was in Vegas that I was on the phone trying to make multiple doctor appointments with future oncologists. It was in Vegas that my world was shattered and felt the universe let me down. It was in Vegas where I lost my ‘luck’...but now, one year later to be exact, I realize it was exactly the opposite.I really WAS and AM a very lucky girl.
Being back in Vegas one year later feels very special to me; just knowing what I’ve been through this past year, remembering how depressed I was last holiday season and feeling so grateful and blessed this holiday season. It always surprises me how much life can change in such a short period of time. How much I can change in such a short period of time. Which brings me to the next thought... what comes next? I realize that I DON’T want to be one of those people who are always talking about being a cancer survivor. No, I don’t want to diminish it, but I DO want to make sure that being a cancer survivor is not my only identity. I had a lot going on BEFORE cancer, and I’ll have a lot going on AFTER cancer. Cancer was a year of my life, and I feel that’s about enough time to spend on cancer, no? And yes, I realize that since cancer, I’m a little different in my thinking, in my being, because now the one thing that matters most is my health. But let’s think about everything else in my life that left a mark in who I am as a person... From the beginning, I was a preemie baby. I came out early and almost died because I was so small. Being the shortest and tiniest kid growing up definitely shaped my identity, but do I talk about being a preemie survivor? NO :)
Next big part of my identity was being a gymnast and leaving home at 14 to train for the Olympics. Yes, that was a tough life for a kid, but it was something I chose to do and I was proud of what I accomplished. I was on the US national team, traveling around the world representing the United States. Unfortunately, I hurt my knee and had a major surgery 2 years before the Olympics, and I was never the same gymnast after that. But am I a gymnastics survivor? Yes, but again, I don’t talk about it much anymore.
Next, would probably be all of my relationship dramas. I was married for 4 months when I was 29-30 years old. It wasn’t right. He is probably a great guy now, but when we were together, it was filled with a lot of emotional abuse. Being a gymnast, I was used to emotional abuse, but I knew deep down that it was NOT how I wanted to live my life and thank God I had the courage to leave after the marriage went downhill very quickly. So, a survivor of abuse? Check that on the list, but today, I'm not one to talk about it OR think about it too much.
Next was a lot of failed relationships, some bad and some amazing. One lasted 8 years and was filled with so much love, however he didn’t want to have children and I did, so as hard as it was to leave, I listened to my voice and went after what I truly wanted...to find a guy who wanted kids and marriage and the whole thing. Anyway, to make a long story short, I am happily married to a guy who has a daughter, but also wanted to have kids with me. And so when we got engaged, we started trying. We did lots of fertility doctors and drugs and tried and tried for over 2 years... We were on a hiatus from trying for a couple of months until I found out I had cancer and learned that if I had gotten pregnant, the pregnancy would have KILLED ME because it would have made the cancer spread everywhere and there would be nothing that I could do about it. Strange how the universe works, no? And my previous relationship basically saved my life because if I was with another guy, I would have had kids and I probably would have gotten cancer earlier and died. So, as painful as the last relationship was, it saved my life, and as painful as it was to have not gotten pregnant while trying, the universe was protecting me. So yes, yes, yes, I feel LUCKY! I also feel that the universe has my back in so many ways, and sometimes I want to yell and scream at the universe for not getting what I think I want, but in the end, I see how magical the universe has been and everything in my life has been just the way it’s supposed to be... even getting cancer!
Anyway, I hope you feel as lucky as I do, even without every dream coming into true... And now, time to head back to the poker tables! Luck be a lady tonight and every day and night to come!!!