As my close friends and family are aware, a little over two years ago, I was diagnosed with Stage IIC T4b Malignant Melanoma. Since the day I received that news, I've been through a lot, physically and emotionally. From diagnosis to surgery to interferon (a form of chemo-therapy) to worry, worry and more worry, it's been a long journey to where I am today. Today, I am in maintenance mode - whenever someone finds out that I've had cancer, they always ask, "so, are you in remission now?" That is, unfortunately, a difficult question for me to answer. Because I don't know the answer to it. In the madness that ensued during the beginning stages of this journey for me, mistakes were made and having known nothing about this specific disease at the time, I just tried to go with the flow as much as I could handle...and in doing so, things were overlooked, and my diagnosis was never able to be (and still cannot be) completed. Since I stopped receiving treatment in January 2011, I have consistently had negative scans and biopsies...which is good news...but not conclusive news. So I don't know. I don't know what the future will bring for me, with or without melanoma. I know that mine is a high-risk case and that the likelihood that I'll have a recurrence within the first 5 years of being treated is very high. Two years in, I'm comforted to know that I have a rock-solid support system in my amazing family, and friends who don't pretend to understand, but will hold my hand through trying times and have shown me boundless love. I am tremendously blessed.
With that as a preface, lately I've been struggling with deciding which choices I should make for my life, with the lofty goals of general life fulfillment and happiness. Should I be a little more reckless and take more risks, or should I take on more responsibilities, settle down, and take the careful route? I remind myself every day of how short life truly is. I had an awakening at 23 when I was forced to face and accept my own mortality and shelf that old concept of youth and invincibility. The question now is: Should that affect the path I take moving forward? Should I keep on keeping on the path of carefulness, planning for the future long haul; or should I readjust to a course that's a little more carefree and in-the-moment? I'm sure the answer to my own question lies somewhere between the two. But how does one find that balance?