Traveling with Cancer

Cancer is not my god! That phrase continually travels through my head when I think about what I can and cannot do with Stage IV Lung Cancer. I am a single mom with two teenage girls in high school, and I cannot stand the idea that they will go through life’s ups and downs without me, so while I have breath in my lungs I am taking them on adventures.

By the time my oldest graduates high school on June 1, she will have visited at least 20 countries. I’ve made the decision that in lieu of gifts that most American teenagers receive, we will make memories. Plus, having a car is useless while she is living in China. I’m sure that if we lived in the U.S., she would love to have a car but as a family we have chosen a different route.

Traveling to Japan for her 16th birthday, Maldives for her last Chinese New Year in high school, the Austrian Alps to learn snowboarding will hopefully have a far greater impact on her than the proms, parties and cars that most American high school students experience. But I don’t know. She may one day realize how much of the traditional high school experience she missed and wish she had those memories.

I literally go from chemo treatments back to work or on a trip with my daughters. Sometimes I spend more time in a hotel room than I’d like, or ever imagine I would do. But while God has given me the energy to be able to handle this schedule, I’m realizing that I have new limitations. Laying in bed at my parents’ home was killing me because I was bored and hated the way people would look at me. When I was first diagnosed in China, the doctors looked at me as if I was a dead woman walking.

I’ve been putting off chronicling these adventures, but since I cannot scuba dive any longer I have a lot of time on my hands in the Maldives and decided to finally start sharing my journey of journeying with cancer. My doctor at MD Anderson continually looks at me with a quizzical expression. But he hasn’t told me to stop, and so my daughters and I are off to see the world, make memories and take advantage of every opportunity that comes our way!