Photo by Chad Edwards taken October 28, 2018 at The Frog Pond in Silverhill, Alabama

Photo by Chad Edwards taken October 28, 2018 at The Frog Pond in Silverhill, Alabama

Having cancer is an odd thing. You get a diagnosis after deciding that some aspect of your health is not right. You consult with an array of doctors and get some labs done, and then you enter a whole new world. Although we wouldn’t mind having our old world back, we are in a curious space where Spencer feels good a majority of the time. We spend a great part of the day together as usual: get out for a bit of exercise in the morning or evening, I prepare meals, we play a daily game of Bananagrams, we work at the computers and spend some time reading, and sometimes we go to the movies. This, in fact, sounds a lot like our days at home before the diagnosis. 

But there are differences. Walks can improve any mood at any time of the day, meals have been calibrated to boost Spencer’s immune system and alkalize his system (cancer does not thrive in an alkaline environment), our word game can reflect our current concerns, reading and computer work include the continuing study of cancer, and movie choices are more upbeat in a bid to bring in more happiness. Life is not as casual ~ we are breaking old habits of taking life for granted, hugging often in glee because we are together and also to lubricate our lives with gratitude. We are shedding stress that we didn’t know we had and filling that void with deep appreciation for the lives we have experienced and nurtured. We are fine-tuning our lives, even though we thought we had it all figured out.

There have also been some interesting additions around here. You might find this curious, but except when Spencer has had a specific project going, he has seldom played a lot of music around the house. Now that we are not touring, there is a line of guitars out of their cases just waiting to be picked up. Spencer has been obliging his instruments, making more music than he has in many years. 

Many of you likely visualize Spencer dressed in black, as he often does for a performance. These days, though, he has been donning more colorful clothing, which paints life with more cheer. Good move, Spencer!

And how about more rest? Americans are notorious for not getting enough. These days Spencer often retreats in the afternoon, deep breathing for an extended period of time. Sometimes it leads to a bit of a nap. His sleeping habits have changed, too, from restlessness and an inner alarm waking him at 4:30 am, to deep quiet sleep until a more civilized hour. We have read that the body works on eliminating toxins during sleep. That sounds pretty important under the circumstances.

The point is that you can always do more to enhance your awareness. I wouldn’t say that I am grateful for the entry of cancer into our life. But I can definitely see where it is changing certain aspects in a positive direction. And for that I am grateful.