Tomorrow afternoon is the first radiation session for my wife. The lump in her breast has been removed. There will be no chemotherapy per her doctors. Twenty sessions, one every day for the next twenty business days, should do it.
The initial shock has worn off to an extent. Yes, there's a real desire to return to normal life. Normal life that is more intensely experienced for having had this brush with mortality. The knowledge that cancer has invaded, that it could still return, that from now on, even after five years of confirmed victory, there is no ultimate victory. You always knew that death will come, as it always has to everyone, but you're shaken when it first extends its exploratory tentacles. You circle the wagons and defy it to even slow you down.
So we plan much more deliberately now.
We take some satisfaction in the fact that we've balanced life thus far reasonably well, having saved for retirement while travelling and doing a lot of the little things that give life colour. Going to the theatre, for example. Staying at hotels that are just a bit more expensive and a bit nicer. Taking off to the beach for the weekend even though you ought to rake the lawn and finish up odd jobs, even though this is the third weekend in a row that you've done so.
You can't do everything, but you can at least work yourself into a job that you actually like. A job that you actually look forward to returning to after the radiation treatments are done and the doctors give you the green light. You can live a life with no reasonable regrets.
You can live a life that you don't put on hold for a minute longer than necessary. You can be very deliberate in planning for those things that weren't so urgent before but are now far more important to ensure take place. Things like finding a beach front place for retirement.
Make it count. Stop planning and plotting only long enough to relax and enjoy the scenery.