Thursday, September 9, 2010

Did you ever read those books as a kid, those Choose Your Own Adventure books? Well if not, the basic gist of the series was that the stories were told as if you, the reader, were the main character and every now and again in the story you get to make a choice about what you, the main character, will do. Depending on what choice you make the book tells you which page to turn to and the story continues until another choice needs to be made. These books were particularly fun because if you didn't like how the story ended, or even if you didn't like the direction in which the story was headed, you could just simply go back, make a different choice at one of the turning points, and then see where that story takes you.

Well, not to ruin it for anyone, but life does not work like a Choose Your Own Adventure book. I mean sure, we all get to "choose our own adventures" to some extent, and, as it also happens in the books, some events in our lives are not of our choosing but are dictated by the Author. But unlike the book series, there is no flipping back a few pages, making a different choice, and seeing how that works out. Some days, though, I wish I could go back and make a few changes and maybe just get a peek at what that might be like.

I know I cannot go back and undo my cancer, I know that my adventure has taken a turn that only the Author is able to do a re-write for. But sometimes I think I'd like to go back to that point where my story turned, to the point where I split into two Beccas, and, just for a day or two, I'd like to walk the path of the Becca who doesn't have cancer.

I've been more than four and a half years on this cancer road, I am tired, yet I choose to continue on and, though it would take too long to explain it here, that choice doesn't really feel like a choice. But I can remember back to when I was not "cancer Becca" but just simply Becca. I remember the fun of my childhood and the typical struggles of adolescence. I remember college, getting married, and more than anything else, being pregnant with and having my Kylynn Aria. I remember what I looked like, I have very clear pictures in my mind of all sorts of events from my pre-cancer life. What I cannot remember though is what it feels like, physically feels like, not to have cancer. And for some reason that makes me immensely sad. So that would be my first stop on my little excursion as "no cancer Becca", I would stop and make a conscious effort to store in my memory the physical feeling of a cancer-free body.

After that I would like to just get a peek at what my life might have been like if I never had cancer. This year would mark my tenth year of teaching, what might that have been like to have been able to continue with the career that I decided upon when I was 13 and worked so hard to achieve? What stresses in my life, as it actually is, might have been lessened if I could have continued working? What sweet children have I missed out on meeting and how might the lives of the two best assistants, excuse me, I mean "paraeducators" :), be different if I were still teaching? How might my family be different? How much worry and stress would they all be spared if only we weren't all thrust into this world of cancer? What stresses at home would be less or nonexistent if I never had cancer? I wonder how I might look if I never had cancer. It's strange to think, but I'm sure I would look rather different. My hair would, for sure, be different. I would not have this lovely 7 and a half inch scar on my abdomen. And there are a million tiny changes that cancer and chemo and surgery have brought over the years that would all be erased. But the one change that "no cancer Becca"'s life would have that I so want to get a peek at, and at the same time, I don't really want to know about at all, the one that weighs heaviest on my heart, is that of my little Aria. What might Kylynn's life be like if she had been able to grow up with a cancer-free mom? It breaks my heart to contemplate that question for too long but I can't help but think the changes in her life would be significant.

But then, the choice of "no cancer Becca" or "cancer Becca" was never mine, that choice was in the master plan of the Author. Just as the choice of having a mom with cancer or a mom without cancer was never a choice in Kylynn's life. So I must trust that this cancer plot line is integral to the story of both of our lives. And even on the rainiest day, when the outcome of the story seems grim and unavoidable, there is always another choice to be made, an adventure to be had, and the knowledge that the Author could change the direction of the story at anytime.