There are women who have parties in regards to their breast cancer. They have a party to cheer them on toward their mastectomy, a party to celebrate the end of chemo, a party to celebrate 1 year or 5 year anniversaries of cancer free. I didn't. At least not in the way you would expect.
I love a party. I even love a party with me at the center. I have always felt that this was "my story right now" and as I close in on what I hope is an almost final draft of that story I keep thinking about what I want my life to be.
A long time ago--pre children--Christopher and I spent 2 weeks on my mom's ranch alone--For whatever reason mom and Beau didn't come then. Every day we would get up and talk a hike with the ranch dogs, have breakfast, read in the hammock on the porch, maybe head into town for dinner or lunch, maybe take a field trip and many evenings were spent sitting at the table with me making jewelry and Christopher and I just talking. It was so nice and quiet and relaxing--I was still an actress which mean my days in LA were always a slave to the agent call for an audition. When you get one of those calls your day stops--you would race to pick up the script and figure out what to wear, figure out what to do with your script and head to the audition that day or the next. It was a drop everything and go. That summer trip was blissfully our own and I thought, "what can I do to live life like this?" It was not acting. I wanted to write. At the same time one of my oldest friends told me, "Angelique, you know what you should do? You should write books like the ones you used to read growing up." Yes, I was never without a book. A L'Amour family tradition carried on generation after generation. I remember seeing the movie "The Secret Of Roan Inish." My first thought at the end of that film was, "I wish I'd written that." Not "I wish I was in that," but, "I wish I had written that."
I started to write fiction. I was still acting but I was spending my downtime in another world dreaming of how I could get back that idea of a day where I was creating all the time.
I don't want my life to be about cancer. My life can be about early detection to a certain point. Until there is prevention I will feel passionate about early detection that is for certain. But what do I want my life to be about? My kids, my family above all else. And then what is the picture I want for me? I want to write. And I want to write the stories I was writing before I got sick. I couldn't write through my illness. Some can but for me it took everything I was to keep a positive attitude and keep my family happy and my mind in the moment. I couldn't live in the book I was working on --in which my lead character was going through her own trauma. I miss her. I miss the other book, the historical book, I was working on and those characters too.
So I want to publish this book about my last 5 years and then I want to have a life where I write worlds of my own creation.
Back to the party idea...I just couldn't have a party before my surgery. Things were moving so fast and I didn't want to focus on it...didn't feel like celebrating. I had a birthday party for Christopher but I didn't want any celebration regarding cancer. Cancer, in my mind, doesn't deserve it. Then came the end of chemo--all I could think of was, "10 days till I start climbing the hill of feeling better." In the midst I went to my girlfriend's bday party and had a blast, feeling celebrated too--just in being there, bald head and all. It was a fabulous uplifitng night and not about me at all.
2 months after chemo I did the Revlon Run Walk. 12 of my family and friends were at our house at 5 am and we met more down there and walked--the hike out of the colisium was the hardest part. All those stairs nearly got me. But I made it to the top. I was thrilled I had the energy to finish...felt like a party and it was. One year anniversary of cancerfree --didn't want a party---still doing herceptin and each subsequent year I haven't. Last October I blogged everyday for a month--year 4 and this year --year 5 I did it again. The party fundraiser for GIT last March was a celebration of life and positivity and I think when my book gets published I will have a party for sure.
I never wanted to give cancer the importance in my life. The importance of my life. When my dad and I spoke about WWII and reunions he would say, "It wasn't the most important thing in my life. I have had so many other important things happen that were really amazing and positive. " So he never went to a reunion. Maybe I feel the same way--it was my war wasn't it? So I will celebrate life and accomplishments but I never want cancer to feel it's worthy of a party. I just want it to know it isn't welcome here ever again.