The Actual Dance as a play presents the events of the year 2000 from my point of view as the spouse of the woman going through breast cancer. Susan is an unlikely survivor of aggressive breast cancer. None of her doctors expected her to survive. I ended up writing a play about my experience of that time and its on-going impact on me as the love-partner. It took me 12 years to discover the story within me and to write the play. For the last nearly 8 years I have been telling it through performances of the play. Every October I blog as part of breast cancer awareness month to help in raising awareness and to share elements of the story in a way that I hope will be of value to those who read these blogs.
Day 1: Surviving Breast Cancer. I want to start this year from the end of our story, not the beginning. I do know that not all stories end well. People die from breast cancer. Susan has not. The play is mostly about getting ready to do the unthinkable – hold Susan as she would take her last breath. Today though is a brief note about what it feels like 20 years later for Susan and me.
In fact, I want to tell briefly about our conversation last night, September 30th. We spent a few minutes out on our deck talking about the rest of our lives – we will both soon be 75 years’ old. We both agree though our experience was entirely different, we each could not imagine being as deeply in love nor as deeply connected today without having had that challenge. Yes, we wish it never happened, and hope you don’t have to endure what we did, and yet we found there is an infinite gift at the end of even the worst experiences. We talked about now who and what we want to be together as we walk through these last chapters of our lives – we don’t have another 20 years – perhaps ten or so and we are fully prepared to experience them together as the happiest days of our lives.
There are gifts at the end of journey and the grow with time.
Stat of the Day: A couple is 6% more likely to be divorced after cancer diagnosis if the wife is the one who is ill than if the husband is ill, according to a study by the National Institute on Aging.
Task of the Day: Talk to your spouse or a trusted partner or friend. If you are in a committed relationship talk with your partner. Share dreams and fears. We have friends who see a counselor periodically – and have does so for 50 years of their marriage – just to make sure they are communicating. You can’t beat the value, especially when life gets tough.
Resource of the Day: Consider a Life Coach. It is a growing field and can be helpful in making sure each day is lived to its fullest. Here is a good link about life coaching and how to find a coach.
The Actual Dance: Performances. Donate.