Summer…ahhh…the best season in the Midwest. Summer started in July this year. It was a long wait, but finally I was able to replace my winter clothes with my summer ones, and wear shorts, capris and sandals every day.
A few weeks ago I learned — after a major scan and blood work — that my metastatic breast cancer (or MBC as it is now called) is stable, meaning no progression. And, to add to that good news, some of my existing cancer has dissipated — translation: melted away. This is a huge accomplishment for this miserable disease. It means the chemo pill I’ve been taking for six months is working.
So combine stable cancer with summer and I’m maximizing every day. Friends invite me to lunch, dinner, bike rides, walks, movies, vacations, and I’m there. I can’t ride my bike as far as I used to, but I’m good for five miles and occasionally up to ten.
I’m still missing Tom and have these moments where it hurts to live without him. I sheepishly admit I sometimes feel angry so many of my peers still have their husbands. But I try not to dwell on it.
Besides being widowed of late seems to have gained a bit of panache. There are more TV shows (both network and streaming) featuring plots around widows and widowers. Memoirs about widowhood by high-profile business women and famous writers are more common. A friend and I were delighted earlier this year to procure an agent to find a publisher for our book that explores dating after widowhood. So it’s sort of safe to say widowhood is a thing. Of course, it always has been, just more under the radar.
Back to my third or, actually, fourth summer with cancer, I am happy to indulge myself at every turn. I’m not drinking much and often have little appetite, but when I do I go for it. I spoil myself with ice cream and sweets and eat excessive amounts of summer fruit — watermelon, cherries, blueberries, peaches, plums, and melon.
I spend time on my peaceful backyard patio that feels like a private forest with roughly a dozen full-grown trees, rampant black squirrels, robins, cardinals, and blue jays. I work out there and read and have long phone conversations with friends and my darling daughter who lives in another state.
The only problem with the long days of summer is they end and turn into shorter, cooler days. Oh, how I hate that transition.
But for now, it is summer, and I have an outdoor dinner to attend. I plan to enjoy every minute of it.