Friday, August 2, 2013

Wisdom Comes Through Experience, Not Age

Sitting on the pier at Fisherman's Wharf eating a delicate, fresh caught piece of fish is where I should be.  Sightseeing, and searching for the perfect piece of artwork for our soon-to-be beautiful baby boy, is what I should be doing this weekend.  August 3rd will mark my thirtieth year on the planet, and a quick getaway to San Francisco is the way we planned to celebrate. While I should be spending this week leading up to a milestone birthday contemplating the departure of my twenties, I am preparing to embark on a journey of chemotherapy, radiation, and clinical trials instead.  As I sit here and watch my best friend endure the modern, amped version of blood-letting (he is undergoing apheresis with the hopes of creating a tumor vaccine from his own monoclonal antibodies)  I have a whole new perspective on the wisdom that comes through experience rather than age. 

Thirty should bring the sting of a carefree time gone by, and the relief of moving forward to a more rewarding stage of life.  Self introspection, confidence, and priorities should be coming into focus.  Luckily for me, finding Dow at such a young age gave me these shifts much earlier than anticipated. I am well aware that I have done more living before the age of thirty, than most get to do in a lifetime.  Finding a partner who has loved me from the moment we met, truly and unconditionally has given me the courage to do, see, and feel the things most people do not have the tools to practice until much later in life.  Together we have put a descent dent in our respective "bucket lists," conquered fears, and found new hobbies.  From diving with great whites, African safaris, and tropical getaways to post night shift breakfast dates, friendly get-togethers, and everything in-between we have run the gamut of experiences. Good ones, bad ones, some that make for great stories, and some that should never be repeated. Just when I thought there wasn't anything we hadn't done together, a brain tumor shows up to give us the ultimate lesson in life experience. 

When most thirty year-olds fear the appearance of wrinkles, a slowing metabolism, finding someone to settle down with, job security, etc.  My superficial fears have been replaced by the reality of possibly being a single mother to two very young children, an immuno-comprimised spouse, and the paralyzing thoughts of spending the rest of my years alone.  When I should be basking in the glow of my second pregnancy,  I am more tortured by the fear the internal stress I feel is leaving an imprint on our innocent, unborn baby.  I feel a sense of overwhelming guilt that November will bring not only pure joy, but more responsibilities only to compound the newfound ones.  

I am finished lamenting the hand we have been dealt, and I am now in a position to embrace our new life and cling to it with passion.  Today is much more appreciated, and every moment is tucked into my memory. Our getaway has been only postponed, not cancelled.  Due to the circumstances, my wonderful husband, even in his semi-fragile state has made arrangements for dinner at our favorite local restaurant with a special menu just for us to accommodate the new dietary guidelines he must follow.  We have always shared a love of fine dining. So while this gesture may seem self-serving, it's the perfect gift for us to add to arsenal of wisdom inducing experiences.

 I wrote this original entry on Wednesday.  Today we got word from Washington University that Dow's tumor tested positive for a particular receptor, which qualifies him for even more treatment options later on down the road.  Only 30% of GBM patients test positive for this receptor!  This is great news, and the best birthday present I could have received this weekend.


  1. Dear Susan, Your words are not only prolific but kind, true, loving and unselfishly written. Much love and happiness to you on this wonderful milestone. Love Lynne.