“What if my last chemo wasn’t two weeks ago and we had to drive in during this snow storm?” I asked my mom last night. She looked at me and said “we would’ve gotten a hotel room and stayed over night,” like she had already thought about this. Moms always have a plan. And I guess when you’re going to chemo during the winter months in the northeast, this is something you have to think about. Regardless, this conversation was pointless. Because we didn’t have to go to chemo today. But still, I let my mind spend way too much time thinking about the what-if.
I don’t usually focus on the what-ifs. I think that’s a way of dwelling on something. But, I am only human, so I have a slip-up every now and then. And also, when something traumatic happens in our lives, we tend to trace back our every move to figure out how we could have prevented it from happening. I said we, but I really mean I. I do that.
For instance, I got into a little car accident two summers ago. It wasn’t my fault, the guy made a left turn into my car, but he basically intimidated me into not calling the police, and I was late for like my third day of work and frazzled and so I was like ok great see you later dude. A big mistake, but isn’t that what your 20s are for? At least that’s what I tell myself. I learned that night. Anyway. We decided that fixing the car would cost more than it was worth, so I sadly had to part with my 2001 Toyota Rav4 that summer. It was my first car and I LOVED IT. We shared the memories of four flat tires and a broken radio together. But it got me from point A to B and I didn’t care. So for awhile I thought about the “what-ifs.” What if I called out of work that night? What if I didn’t go to Starbucks before work (but I really needed that venti coffee before working night shift)? What if Starbucks just closed earlier (this is all Starbucks fault man)? What if I left my house earlier? What if I left later? What if that man didn’t crave an iced caramel macchiato with whipped cream (prob not his order but he crashed into me so I can give him whatever order I want)? What if I just called the police like a normal human being?
So I finally gave up. My car was gone. I had to move on.
I went through the next year not really thinking about the what-ifs because I had realized from previous experiences how useless it is. I also adopted a sort of YOLO attitude. Will the what-ifs change anything? Not unless I had a time machine. And I don’t. Because my name is not Marty McFly. Although I really wish it was because that name is mcCOOL as hell.
And then I got some news. That I was going to be the next Bachelorette. JK, the news was that I had cancer. LOL.
Once again, I was back to the what-if drawing board. How could I not be? I was suppose to be starting my post-grade life. “I COULDA BEEN A CONTENDA. I COULDA BEEN SOMETHING!” – Rory Gilmore quoting Marlon Brando. I’m still one hell-uv-a contenda but that quote describes me in the beginning stages of my diagnosis.
I reflected on every piece of my life to determine how I could’ve gotten to this point. What if I worked out more? What if I ate less junk food? Oh god, was it the hot dogs? What if I ate less hot dogs? What if I did more meditation? What if I ate more foods with antioxidants? Like those POM juice commercials with the fruit ninjas? Yea that would’ve done it (I know drink this stuff religiously)! Did I stand too close to the microwave? Did I really need all that microwave popcorn? Movie night isn’t the same without popcorn though. But the movies I watch are usually so bad. Should I just never watch movies ever again? No movies = no microwave popcorn = no cancer. I think I found the cure.
And that’s how I became a crazy person. Microwave popcorn and bad movies have nothing to do with why I got cancer. Sure, I should probably watch less bad movies because nobody needs to see Love the Coopers more than once. But in general, I don’t think microwave popcorn did any harm.
The thing is, no one really knows what causes Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. There’s a correlation between people that had mono and hodgkin’s, but that’s really it. And I never had mono. Which I’m thankful for because then I didn’t have to go through the what-ifs of kissing boys and sharing drinks with people. No one needs a trip down memory lane.
So then after I got over my resentment of microwave popcorn, I realized that I don’t really think I could’ve prevented this. Up to that point, I was a pretty healthy chick. Never had any out of the ordinary problems. My family history is pretty good. I enjoy McDonald’s chicken nuggets every now and then, but I was always an active person. Cancer is a crapshoot, if we’re being honest. And I accepted that. I forgot about the dreaded what-ifs and focused on the how-tos. How to get past this. How to beat this. How to live my life better.
I’m getting past this. I’m anxiously awaiting to find out if I beat this. And I am living a better life.
I’m not saying I will never focus on the what-ifs again. Because that would be a lie. But what if we just lived more in the present? I think we would find that we don’t need a time-traveling car to fix things and that we could just move on and be better.
Hope everyone is staying warm on this snow day!!!!! And if you have a snow day I hope you’re enjoying it. Every day of my unemployed life is a snow day. So this blizzard just inhibits me from doing my daily activities of going to Starbucks or the mall. I need some hobbies. So today, I’ll be baking.
Happy snowy Tuesday!!!
Oh also, UDance raised $1.89 million to help kids with cancer and their families. Thanks to everyone who donated because that is freakin’ amazing.