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Heaven can wait

Janice WaldI told God a month before being cleared of breast cancer that Heaven could wait.

In October, I’d received news that I had an abnormal mammogram result. “I am not ready,” I repeatedly whispered, almost like a mantra, to anyone up there who might be available to listen. I chanted it to my late dad, grandpa, former mother-in-law and former uncle-in-law. (I don’t know that many dead people.)

I absolutely did not have time for cancer. I was about to become a world-famous blogger like… Come to think of it, I did not know any world-famous bloggers.

Suddenly, my recent past made sense. No wonder God had given me so many good parking spaces at work recently; he was about to give me the “Big C.” I tossed and turned after getting the dreaded notice that there might be an abnormality and that I had to return for more tests.  In my mind, the form letter was just a formality. I had already received a death sentence.

I decided to make plans one would make when writing their bucket list. First, I’d blow all my money. I saw that in a Queen Latifah movie once. In “Last Holiday” a dying woman decides to blow all her money on one last luxurious vacation. However, thanks to my wonderful husband, I’ve already traveled extensively.  The only item I was in the mood to spend the little nest egg my father left me on was Candy Crush Saga boosters. (I wondered if Mark Zuckerberg would get his share since I was playing on his site. It would actually have been fine with me since I think he’s a good guy.)

I figured dying people would binge eat since they wouldn’t be around to worry about calories. However, the only food I was craving as I fretted in the wee hours of the morning was nonfat Yoplait Yogurt, not exactly a chocolate cheesecake in the calorie department.

I started to wonder what I’d bury myself with if I were one of the ancient Egyptians who decked out the chambers that held their coffins with belongings they’d want in the afterlife. All I could think to take with me to the Great Beyond was my little dog Minnie, and she was still among the living. I heard some ancient Roman buried himself with his horse. (Was it Caligula? He sure loved his horse.)

Would that be fun for Minnie and me to go to the Great Beyond together or unspeakably cruel? Guilt might follow me to the Great Beyond. That wouldn’t be fun at all.

I decided I’d swear my husband to secrecy while at the same time telling everyone I knew in hopes of ascertaining some peace of mind from them.

The next morning my whole world had changed. My two “friends” definitely felt dramatically different from each other. Even decision making felt different. What song to listen to while getting ready for work was problematic. I was in the mood to listen to Katy Perry’s “Firework,” but there was a cancer patient in the song’s music video, so that choice was out. Which lotion should I use? I was in the mood for “Forever Sunshine.” Sunshine sounded happy, so that was okay, but Forever implied eternity, which I was definitely not ready for.

In the musical “Bye Bye Birdie,” Conrad Birdie sang that he had “lots of livin’ to do.” I have “lots of livin’ to do” and lots of blogging to do.

I was cleared of any cancer and given a clean bill of health earlier this month.  At the time, I was terrified.  Cancer is no laughing matter. Yet, in hindsight, I hope I will remember the weeks of uncertainty this way, with levity — and not with the panic I felt.

– Janice Wald

By night, Janice Wald is a happy blogger, wife, mother of three daughters and a dog owner. By day, she is a teacher passionate about medieval and ancient world history. She recently completed a master’s degree in education, curriculum and instruction. An avid writer, she is currently collaborating on a screenplay, loves blogging to the point of obsession and was nominated for the Liebster Award. You can read her blog here.

Reflections of Erma