I know Susan has a strong bedrock of faith, and maybe that's the key, I don't know. I do know that my own beliefs are all over the map. Sometimes I tend to look down on people that appear to me to blindly accept religious dogma, other times I envy them their panacea for the fear of death. Who's right or who's wrong doesn't really matter. We are all humans, and we're all here to learn and love.
What matters to me is that Susan is the epitome of grace, and her daughter must have been amazing person. I wish I could have met her.
And, yes, it scares me. Terrifies me. The same cancer that took Jilly's young life is the same cancer I have, maybe hiding somewhere in my body for the perfect time to pop up and start the war. My mother is finally starting to accept the reality of Melanoma. She told the rest of my family in an email that I will never be cured of Melanoma, and she now refers to me as having cancer, not having had cancer.
Don't get me wrong, I don't want to worry my mom, god knows she has enough to worry about with the rest of my messed up family, but it seems with me she is pulling her head out of the sand little by little.
The other day, one of my sisters started a fight with me on Facebook, saying that I cared more about the color of my new iPod than I care about people, and that she's so broke she can barely afford a winter coat. I was shocked and dismayed at her words.
How can you tell someone with Melanoma that they value things over people? I think anyone with Melanoma has pretty much faced their own mortality on a daily basis, especially me because I stress about it so much. But I asked myself if I have been acting the way she accused me of. My mother and sister Deni just said she was angry because her husband isn't working much, and she picked up and moved halfway across country and now she's realizing she made a bad decision and she's broke. There have been many a time in the past when Deni and I were struggling financially and the sister in question was doing well, going on cruises, taking trips, and we never begrudged her.
She later emailed Deni and said she was sorry for attacking us both, that's she's just stressed. It was a good lesson for me, though. I don't ever want to get to acting like things are more important than people. I'm thrilled to have a new iPod 5, and I'm so SO happy I got Deni her iPad Mini for Christmas, but there is never a moment when I don't realize these are just objects, just things, and PEOPLE are what matter.
I'm not actively fighting Melanoma like some of my friends are, but I am still undergoing procedures that I wouldn't have to have if I didn't have a history of Melanoma. I know my pathology report wasn't good, and I know melanoma had travelled to my lymph nodes. I'm still having my dermatologist appointments every 3 months. I'm still having my scans and oncologist appointment every 6 months, and every time I get a headache, which I get ALOT, it scares the hell out of me thinking the Melanoma has gone active and has started attacking my body. Next week I'm having a camera stuck down my throat to look into my stomach for Melanoma, and the following week I'm having a colonoscopy to look for Melanoma. These are small procedures, but still scary to me, especially the results.
Trust me, I'm aware that my life is balanced on a tightrope, and however long I have to live, it will be this way to the end. I'm aware that there's every reason to believe Melanoma will be the cause of my eventual demise. We don't call it the Beast for nothing, but the time I do have, I will make sure to value people over things.
When I see someone like Jillian fight for every second of her life, when I see my other friend Jennifer constantly in the hospital fighting this damn cancer so she can go home to her little boy, when I saw Steve Hock undergo brain surgery after surgery and still have the sense of humor to make the rest of us smile or laugh.... how can I not value people more than anything in the world?
Today, the day Jillian's family have a celebration of her life, I value her, and I value her mother, for showing the rest of us what life is all about, what is truly of value.