Thor and I have a favourite game: fantasizing about what we’ll do when we win the Lottery. We like to play it Friday nights, before the draw. “What’s the first thing we’ll do when we win?” Thor will ask. We’ve spent countless hours indulging this dream.
Recently, we won a different lottery: Thor has been diagnosed with Stage III cancer. I can safely say we have not speculated about this possibility, and now that it has happened, we no longer have the luxury of speculating about what ifs.
Some say that everything that happens in life is exactly as it should be. I have sat with this idea for weeks now, unable to respond. What could possibly be “exactly right” about cancer?
Coming to terms with the diagnosis and choosing a treatment path has caused many sleepless nights and a whole gamut of unexpected fears. The delusion of a lottery win has been replaced by the cold hard reality of our life situation. ‘Someday’ is now ‘today’ as we find ourselves forced to make tough decisions and clean up our lives. Finances, health, and unresolved issues have a new immediacy.
“Your quality of life will change,” the doctors warned. Even though we haven’t started treatments, it already has. We will be downsizing our living space shortly, and the trip we planned for the upcoming holiday season has been cancelled. We have rid our cupboards of unhealthy foods, and plan to make self-care a priority. The physical trials that Thor will endure are yet to be seen.
Through all of this, one thing has remained constant: our love. Family and friends, who have always mattered, become even more precious.
Now that we have made decisions, and taken actions to support a healthy life, we are both feeling calmer. Is what is happening exactly right? Ask us ten years from now.
As for now, “Don’t be so sure we didn’t win the Lottery,” Thor tells me. “If we didn’t find the cancer, we’d be telling a different story.”