I Was Excited About Retirement; Instead..

I was excited about retirement; instead, I got cancer, 4th stage

I had made plans to really enjoy my first retirement summer; instead I spent 2 1/2 months being tested and evaluated

I wanted to have a celebration of my retirement; instead, I saw no one but my family all summer long

I had just joined a senior aerobics class to lose weight and get healthy; instead, I had to withdraw from the class after attending one session

I was excited about doing things with my family; instead, they ended up worrying about and taking care of me

I was eager to try out new things; instead, I spent my time in chemotherapy, radiation treatment and recovering from each round of treatment

I was looking forward to spending relaxed time with friends; instead, I was too sick to see anyone

We usually have a big house party around Christmas; instead we spent the Christmas holidays alonebecause I wasn’t up to having visitors

Everyone complained about the weather all winter; instead, I was glad I didn’t have to drive to work

The New Year came and people made resolutions; instead, I wished for more time with my family

The weeks went by and people were busy with their lives; instead, I was silently waiting to hear my prognosis

Everyone said I looked better and had more energy; instead of being happy, I felt scared

I thought the day would never come that I would learn the results of my ordeal; instead, the call I had been waiting for finally came one morning…I was cancer free!

The doctor who called was very excited and happy for me; instead, I was numb and grateful

Friends and relatives called and emailed to congratulate me; instead, I was unable to share their joy

Weeks went by and I wondered if I would ever be happy again; instead, I began to do things and spend less time thinking about myself

As I got busier, I realized my mood was lifting; instead of feeling fear and anxiety, I was being to look forward to each new day

Six months ago I sat alone for hours each day waiting for the day to be over; instead, now I am so busy there aren’t enough hours in the day

Whereas not so long ago I had lost all passion; instead, I am now passionate about everything

A month ago, I no longer had a community to belong to; instead, Slice of Life has provided me with “instant” community

I no longer turned away offers from friends to visit me; instead, I hosted a small dinner party for friends who had helped me through my ordeal

I didn’t succumb to cancer; instead, I am one of the lucky ones.  I am, for now, cancer free!

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15 thoughts on “I Was Excited About Retirement; Instead..”

  1. Congratulations on being cancer free! It’s horrible to go through that diagnosis – I dealt with a stage 1 diagnosis and subsequent surgery last spring, so I know some of what you went through. Now you do get to enjoy your retirement! Congratulations on writing something that had to be difficult to do.

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  2. I was captivated by your words. I think anyone experiencing such a diagnosis would have those same feelings. I am so glad that you are cancer free…and now you can enjoy your retirement. You are passionate and busy now and I am so glad you have found a community in the Slice of Life. It is wonderful, isn’t it? Wishing you continued good health.

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  3. Congratulations on your cancer-freedom! This post is so inspiring–your resilience, your recovery, and the beautiful way you used the “instead” framework to tell your story. I too have found community in the “slicing” world in a difficult time in my life, and I’m so grateful!

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  4. I was so relieved when I reached the line in the poem that proclaimed, “I was cancer free!” This poem is a testament to the storm you’ve weathered. Thank you so much for sharing this meaningful piece.

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  5. Awesome format. I like how you shared what you wanted and what you received instead. I could feel your pain and anguish and then your hopefulness and being fulfilled. Congrats on being cancer free and so glad that you found this community to share your slices with.

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  6. I am so glad to read that you are cancer free. I really like the structure of this piece, using the word “instead.” It adds depth to your words. I found myself tensing up as I read the second part of each sentence, wondering what was going to happen. It all turned around as you got to the end of the post. Thank you for sharing. It’s a beautiful piece.

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  7. Barbara!!! Such a beautiful poem about the unexpected turns in life and finding your way through a storm. It made me think of the quote, “Life is what happens when you are busy making plans.” So many life changes at once, but how exquisite to have a new chapter now where you have so many passionate plans in play. I am thrilled that we are here together in this slicing community since our blogs were not finding much of an audience on our poor little LIWP site. Here, you have so many friends appreciating your story, I can tell. Thanks for such an amazing post and for being an inspiring person to know and call my friend.

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  8. This was an great post…(fantastic use of instead) It helped portrait the ying and yang on your heart. The whole piece represented the ebb and flow of life. Congratulations! Consider sharing it with others…I’m sure they would be comforted knowing they are not alone in their feelings.

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