Travels with Cancer

It has been a weird year for me. I was diagnosed with stage III. cancer last year and finished chemo early this summer. I have thrown up more this year than anyone can imagine. I still don’t have much feeling in my feet and hands because of the nerve damage caused by chemo. I lost a lot of my hair but not all of it. And I blogged about traveling throughout the whole thing.

People always ask me how cancer changed me. I don’t really have a Lance Armstrong answer for that. That is the disappointing thing. It didn’t change me. I had no major revelations about life, didn’t become devoutly religious. Nothing new. I realized that I am already living the life I want to be living. I just want it more.

I still traveled as much as I could. Partly to get away from life and partly to get more into it. A lot of people told me to take it easy, but I figured that life without traveling is not life worth living. If premature death is a possibility, I might as well live the life I want to live. I spent the first six months of the year at home in Prague and the rest split between New York, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, DC, Wisconsin, Chicago, a week in Crete, week in London, few days in Rome, weekend in Brussels, week in Switzerland, week in Athens, week in Costa Rica and a week in Panama. I am probably forgetting something, but who cares.

I love to travel. (Obviously.) Now more than ever, though, I love to travel “well.” I don’t travel just to check places off my list or to “have an experience.” I can really live in the moment now, how cool is that? I used to be afraid to fly, but cancer took care of that irrational phobia. Clearly, you are never really in control of your life, so why not have a little fun with it.

(Photo taken in February 07 in Switzerland, two weeks after round 4 of chemo. I was really tired and cold and had to quit skiing after just one run, but the fresh air felt really, really good.)