Carpe the hell out of this Diem

If you can't tell from the past few blogs, or from the sparseness of my writing of late (I always write less when life gets complicated), life has been complicated lately. A few weeks ago my husband had surgery to amputate the top half of his thumb and two lymph nodes removed for biopsy. Since pretty soon after his diagnosis with melanoma we have been anticipating this surgery and in many ways I think we both felt that if we could get past the surgery then everything would be fine and we could put melanoma behind us, knowing that we will just have to be on the look out for recurrence. We never really let ourselves talk or even think much about the possibility that the biopsy results wouldn't be good.

And then we got the call from pathology. The cancer had spread in small amounts to his lymph nodes.

Suddenly we are facing the options of another surgery, this one much more extensive and invasive, with potential lifelong consequences. We talked with the oncologist this week about drug options, which honestly sound miserable. They aren't talking chemo, but these drugs have pretty nasty side effects and seem not so far off from chemo. In some ways I think I would feel better about chemo - I know people who have gone through chemo and gone on to have long healthy lives afterwards, but these drugs don't seem to effect life expectancy that much, or at all. One of them is still in trials. Honestly, they don't seem all that reassuring.

In the next few weeks we'll see another melanoma specialist and then someone from Bastyr University as well. Hopefully they will have some other options or at least some more information.

To be honest the past week has been really hard for me. The oncologist appointment was discouraging for me. I started doing some research that filled my head with numbers and statistics which I wish I didn't know. And twice this week I had what can only be described as premonitions or visions, which were less than encouraging.

When I'm honest I'm scared.

But, Bryan keeps reminding me that decisions made from fear aren't good decisions. Fear may be a good motivator, but it doesn't motivate in very healthy directions.

Slowly this week I started to realize anew that I can't live in the constant fear and anticipation of a negative future. That's no way to live. I don't want to live that way. My life does have a lot of unknowns right now, and a lot of those unknowns scare me. But, I don't want that fear to paralyze me, to motivate me into unhealthy decisions, or to taint and darken the beauty that is each day of my present life.

Yesterday I got to talk to my dad. He always has such a calming influence on me. He reminded me that we actually get to have a really unique perspective, while most people our age are nose to the grind, and perhaps not valuing their daily life as they should, we have a unique perspective where we don't know what the future holds and so we get to celebrate each day as it comes. He reminded me to fully live every moment, to embrace where we are right now, enjoying today instead of fearing tomorrow.

That's how I want to live. I want to live grateful for each day I have with my wonderful husband instead of fearing that our time together migt be cut short. I want to live grateful for my beautiful daughter instead of fearing what disabilities she may have because of the abnormalities in her brain. I want to live grateful for the wonderful, creative, projects in design, development and programming work that Bryan has right now instead of fearing that he might not have enough projects to pay the bills in few weeks or months or years. I want to live grateful that God walks with us in the now and grateful that he will continue to walk with us as each tomorrow becomes a now.

I am grateful that each day comes at us one at a time and the only day I'm ever asked to live is this one.

So, that's what I'm going to do. Carpe the hell out of this diem!

Rejoicing in the journey,

Bethany Stedman