But I made it. I trudged through the French Quater and enjoyed the sights and sounds and especially the tastes of New Orleans. I ate crawfish, gumbo, red beans, beignets and three different kinds of bread pudding. Oh yeah, and I presented at a conference and did other work as well. The last night there I treated myself to a nice dinner and then walked to Bourbon street and listened to jazz and zydeco, just happy to sit and drink in the music. Eventually I went back to my hotel and there he was, waiting for me, just as he had been there for me through this whole ordeal. Yes, folks Everybody Loves Raymond was playing on the tube.
It seemed appropriate that the one year anniversary of my diagnosis was celebrated doing the things I most enjoy doing, seeing new sites, eating great food, listening to live music, and watching Raymond. I am still figuring out where my life is heading and learning to live with the fear that tinges the lives of all cancer survivors:"will it come back?" But this week I finally believed that I had come back from wherever this illness had taken me. I am still facing physical and mental challenges, but even if I'd never gotten sick I would be facing challenges.
I did finish my PhD and then I got cancer, but now the cancer is gone and I'm ready to start my next adventure. I'm ready to start living. I'm ready to get my eyebrows tattooed.