Twenty years is not enough

People say some interesting things to me when they find out I have cancer. I understand that, for the most part, they mean well, but sometimes the things that come out of their mouths may not have the desired effect.

There is a time and place to tell me about all the people you know who have died from cancer, but it’s not really encouraging to the newly diagnosed. I’m sorry you’ve lost loved ones, I have too. But it’s not an appropriate response to the revelation that someone has cancer.

Another thing people tell me is that I could have another good twenty years in me. At the outset, that sounds great when your odds of hitting the five year survival mark are looking slim.

But then I look at my year-and-a-half old daughter and I know that twenty years is not enough. I need to be there to guide her through adolescence, dance at her wedding, and spoil her children. I need to be a grandma.

Twenty years is not enough. I can’t set the bar that low.

I know, realistically, that I may not have that much time. I know I have friends who don’t have that much time either. This breaks my heart. But I have to set the bar higher.

I’ve meet people who are 17 year survivors and I’m awed. It’s beautiful and amazing to survive that long, but it’s not enough. I want more. At the recent Race for the Cure there was a 45 year survivor. That’s a little more like it. But still, I want more.

I want to live.

I want to get old.

My grandmother recently passed away at the age of 99. She was 60 years older than me.

I think it’s about time we had a 60 year breast cancer survivor. How about telling me I could have 60 more good years in me? Then, when I hit the ripe old age of 99, I’ll ask for more time anyway.

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