Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The N Word(s)

Now before you go all freaky on me, the headline is not what you think as it relates to our society and culture.

I'm talking about 3 n words that have taken on new meaning in my life since I was diagnosed with head and neck cancer––never, normal, now.

Never is an awful word. (I often think of the song, "The 12th of Never", when I hear that word). As in, "I never want to see you again." Never mind. Never, ever. Never in a million years. Never be a superstar. Such a negative word. Until you utter to yourself, "I never want to get cancer. Again."

Normal is a strange word. Normal can be good or bad. Everything is normal––is that good or bad? Normal temperature. We even shorten the word––that's the "social norm". And then there's the cancer version––when will I get back to normal? Hell, after cancer, normal takes on an entirely new meaning. For me, it's normal to choke and/or cough because I can't produce enough saliva due to the cancer treatments. This usually happens 2-3 times a day, especially when I'm eating or drinking. And because I cannot produce enough saliva, I'm drinking constantly during the day & night. (I wake up 2-3 times a night to peel the tongue off the roof or side of my mouth with a sip of water).

Now has become my favorite word. Now is the best time to do something. Anything. Everything. There's no better time than NOW. Now is ALL we actually have––I believe that's what they mean when they say, "live in the moment". I try to enjoy now, because I might not have tomorrow. At the moment, I'm enjoying "now" because tomorrow I'll get a needle in my arm to draw blood at my Oconologist. I hate needles. But I love to live.

Now is the perfect time to live.