I’ve been told by several folks along this trip that setting goals is good.
Goals are a promise we make to our future selves, they allow us a framework within which we can flesh out our dreams, fill in the details, color in the large and small areas.
I’ve mentioned some of my goals previously in this blog, but I’ve never done a post entirely of the goals I hope to reach in the near future, medium future and far, far future.
Goal 1: Stay Alive
I want to live. Who doesn’t?*
I want to be here for me, first of all, because even with the pain and noise and garbage that fill every-day life, there is SO much joy and beauty and fun in life, too.
And I love myself some FUN.
So, selfishly (in the best sense) I want to stay alive for ME!
I want to be here for my family, too!
I want to be able to keep watch over my kids, to help them navigate young adulthood. I want to see them grow into the type of citizens I KNOW they will be; thoughtful, hard working, kind and responsible. We work so hard to instill values in our kids that reflect our own concept of good, seeing those values playing out in our kids’ daily lives is such a joy, I want to be here for that.
I want to be here for Gerry, to help take care of him (he needs that, and I feel that this cancer has left him in the lurch almost as much as it’s disrupted my own life.)
Well, my life IS our life, and vice versa, that’s the promise we made 25 years ago.
Still going strong, have I mentioned how lucky I am yet in this post?
Goal 2: Be Healthy
I want to feel better.
I hurt. Every day of my life right now is filled with physical pain, and I’m sick to death of it. Most of the pain is centered in my spine and my hips (basically, where the tumors are) but there is a lot of auxiliary pain (mouth, digestive system, joints, etc.) that echoes through my body.
On top of that is the exhaustion, the dizziness, the inability to move well.
This is the whining portion of the post, but I feel it’s important to catalog the issues I’m dealing with so that I can visualize the opposite—visualize a life WITHOUT this constant pain.
I want to be strong and pain free again! I want to ride my bike, go for a walk, or just sit down without thinking about HOW I place my body as I lower myself into a chair to prevent crazy pain through my body.
I have a fear that the damage to my bones, my spine, my hips is great enough that when the cancer is vanquished, I will still have the full range of pain, and perhaps no good way to rid myself of it.
This is Gerry’s issue, his Multiple Myeloma comes and goes year by year, but the bone pain remains a constant. He takes pain meds, but that carries with it it’s own set of issues (side effects, dependency, lack of control) which are not fun to deal with.
Will my own post-cancer life be, in large part, simply about pain management? God, I hope not. My life for the past 8 years has been about fibromyalgia pain management, so what’s a bit more pain management on top of that?
Whatever happens, I’ll cope. But I’m hoping that life after cancer will be about MORE than just coping.
Goal 3: Cycling
My own version of, “Back To Normal!”
Cycling around on my Trek women’s bike has been one of the defining characteristics of my life for so long!
I love the freedom of cycling, my ability to go just about anywhere I really NEED to go, without spending money on gas, or finding a parking space. I love the feeling—about 2 miles into a ride—when my body releases into a sense of elation (or exhaustion, depending on the day.) and I’m on auto pilot for 10 more miles. Just me, grinning, and my bike.
Cycling, for me, is pure euphoria.
Because my balance isn’t great right now, and I have so little stamina or strength, cycling isn’t something I can do. It makes me sad, but I understand; falling off of my bike could cause some serious issues, my spine is pretty banged up and could become seriously damaged very easily, so to be safe I’m off of two wheels for the duration (of my cancer recovery) BUT I WILL RIDE AGAIN!
Goal 4: Travel
This has to be on EVERY one of my Life Lists!
I love travel. I feel like travel is one of the most important things we, as human beings, can engage in. Travel can be as exotic as traveling across the world to experience a culture you’ve never encountered, or as simple as taking a bus cross town to try out a new restaurant. I believe in travel to bring folks together, and to allow us to discover new realms within ourselves that we might not otherwise take the time to investigate.
Travel means spending time going somewhere. Spending time on anything means a certain amount of introspection. Introspection can be a end in itself. For me, travel is its’ own reward, the time, the planning, the memories.
When I was a young adult I was told that you can tell if you’re suited to a life partner if you can travel together, and I’ve found that to be true. Gerry and I DO travel well, our different skill sets merge beautifully when we go on a trip together. I love traveling with my family, and folks I’ve met with whom I’ve shared travel experiences have become some of my best friends.
I want to travel again. Obviously that’s not going to happen soon, but I want it to happen. There are so many places I want to visit, so many travel experiences I want to share with friends and family.
I dearly want to visit Vienna next Spring when Max is there with his girlfriend, studying German and Political Science. I want to SEE my son living in his first city-away-from-home, his first foreign country on-his-own. That’s a goal in itself!
At this moment I can barely make it up the stairs without stopping for 5 (or 20) minutes to catch my breath from the exhaustion and the pain. Walking to the kitchen is rough, walking around the block is a mini marathon.
Will I travel again? Hell, yes.
How well—and how soon—I’m able to travel again remains to be seen.
Goal 5: Grandkids
This is entirely OUT of my hands.
Friend of the POD – er – POODLE!
I always knew I wanted kids, that was something I’d known from childhood. I also want grandkids; and I’m honest enough to say that out loud.
But it’s not my decision to make, it’s something to be addressed further along down the road, it’s my kid’s decision.
But should they decide that kids are in THEIR future, I want to be here to celebrate and enjoy their offspring; my future grandkids.
So many more than I can list!
There are so many goals that I want to achieve.
I’m not alone in this, we all have our list of goals—not exactly a ‘bucket list’—but things that we need to accomplish to enrich our lives. I can feel in my soul, and in my bones, how many things I have left undone in my life. Each of those undone things is the seed of a goal.
The five goals I’ve listed above are my Top 5. They’re the immediate things that I want to accomplish to make my life richer and fuller. This, I would argue, is exactly the reason I’m undergoing the Chemo tomorrow; to achieve these goals.
Of course I have fear about the Mayo procedure this week; it’s supposed to be a rather rough chemo, hard on the body, harder on the soul. For what it’s worth, I feel that I’m as prepared as I can be for this next step. But in reality, I don’t know how prepared I can actually be.
However, listing and considering my goals makes me feel as though I’m moving in a direction that I can recognize. Forward.
Recovery lies ahead of me, I’ll try to mark the trail with tiny white stones as I travel along, perhaps it will be helpful for someone else who follows me along this path.
*Yes, I know there are folks who are in so much pain, physically and emotionally, that end of life seems the only release. I can’t speak to that, that’s not my reality right now. But I don’t judge that, either. We cannot understand where someone else is unless we are living their life, and the only life I have the joy to live is my own.