I Dream of Getting Old

Recently, it seems like everywhere I turn, everyone is complaining about getting old. They hate their grey hair. They hate their bald head. They hate their sagging skin. They hate their wrinkles.

I was never one of those people that hated the idea or reality of getting old. I liked it when I saw a grey hair on my head. When I turned 30, I threw myself a huge party to celebrate entering a new decade. While everyone else was grumbling about getting old, I was excited. I felt like getting older meant having more experiences, becoming wiser, knowing yourself more. All good things.

Before my breast cancer diagnosis, I would laugh at people when they moaned about getting old. But now, after facing a life-threatening illness, I get sad when I hear people talk about how much they hate getting old. All I can think is what a luxury it is to grow old. I actually dream about getting old.

I dream about being 90, sitting on a park bench, talking with friends about how great our lives have been. I dream about being able to live a long life where I feel like I’ve been able to do everything I want. I dream about having children and grandchildren, and getting to watch then grow up.

Nothing is life is guaranteed. I’ve always known that. But now it feels very real and personal, rather than just a saying. So I’m trying to live each day to its fullest and spend time with the people that mean the most to me. Whether I have one more year to live or make it to 90, its a good way to live.

But I just can’t help feeling jealous of those people who complain about getting old. I should be so lucky.


Waiting To Hear Those Three Little Letters…NED

Today I had my 9 month check up with my radiologist. It still feels weird to say I have a radiologist. I’m 40 years old, talking like I’m 70.

Last night I slept in my good luck pajamas – striped tank top and grey sweatpants. I always wear these the night before any doctor’s appointment or test. Today I wore my good luck outfit – black skirt, maroon top and gold/silver/peach necklace my sister gave me for my 40th birthday. I wear this outfit the day of any doctor’s appointment or test. Call me crazy or superstitious. But these rituals have helped me stay calm and seem to bring me good news. So why mess with a good thing.

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I drove to the hospital today for my appointment and parked in my usual spot. They reserve parking spots for cancer patients. Nice that they do that. Kind of messed up that one of those spots is reserved for me. I spent 5 days a week for 8 weeks parking in that spot. I never got used to parking there or walking into the Cancer Center. People always looked at me funny when I parked there, like I shouldn’t be the one getting out of that car parked in that spot. I know the feeling.

I walked into the hospital and signed in. The receptionist said, “Hi. Nice to see you.” It was nice to see her too, but I have to be honest, it wasn’t nice to be back in that place. As I sat in the waiting room, I saw many women with bald heads. The feelings of being in active treatment came quickly rushing back – swiping my cancer badge to get checked in, undressing and putting on my robe, laying on the cold treatment table, having the technicians get me ready for my treatment, then the technicians leaving the room so they weren’t exposed to the high levels of radiation that was about to be zapped into me.

I’m so glad to be done with that. I was now the woman in the waiting room with an acceptable amount of hair. If I wasn’t in a cancer center, you would have no idea I ever had breast cancer. It’s kind of amazing that it’s been 9 months since I finished my treatments. Some days it feels like it just ended yesterday. Other days it feels like its been years.

All my doctors tell me that most patients find symptoms of recurrence on their own in between doctor’s appointments. They say you just know when the cancer has come back. I’ve been feeling pretty good lately and don’t have any pain, which I’m grateful for. So I wasn’t really worried. But I can’t help listening to that little voice in my head that says maybe I’m not checking myself carefully enough. I felt good and didn’t have any pain before and even weeks after my diagnosis, so I like to get the official word from my doctors that everything looks good to them.

My radiologist today did the usual check up, which included a breast exam. After she was done, she wrote down in my chart NED. That’s cancer lingo for no evidence of disease. YIPPEE!!! HOORAY!!! I’m certainly relieved to see those 3 little letters written down next to my name.


My radiologist said she didn’t want to see me again for another year. That’s good news too. I left the hospital feeling really happy. So I bought myself my favorite flowers – lots of beautiful red gerber daisies. So vibrant. So perky. So full of life.

Time to celebrate!