Susan WonderStone's Blog


Another year for our annual tradition!!!
November 13, 2010, 2:23 pm
Filed under: coaching, Inspiration, Uncategorized

I woke up in an excellent mood this morning.  So many things going through my head.  What do I want to be, do and have in my life that I haven’t done, been or had? So many things!

A few days ago, I was watching a Trans Siberian Orchestra video.  Tears started streaming down my face.  It turned into an all out cry.  Why?  I had no idea what I was crying about.  Something was triggered by the video or the music, but I didn’t know what.  Was it because I don’t get to see my extended family on Christmas anymore?  Getting time off from work for Christmas won’t happen for another 20 years based on seniority.  So many questions, but none of them seemed to be the answer.   As soon as I hit “comment” to send my question out to the world of facebook, I figured it out.

I had heard about TSO years ago, and liked their music.  I had been working for my friend Dan who asked me if I wanted to go to the concert for my Christmas present.  It was the year after the cancer had spread to my liver and lymphatic system.  I loved the concert!  I wanted so bad to take Cameron to the next one.  It would be another year until they were back in Seattle.  I didn’t think I would be alive for another year.  The statistics for recurrent melanoma gave me less than 1% chance of being alive a year after diagnosis.  I had already made it more than a year.  A new lump that looked like half a golf ball was sticking out of the back of my head.  The daily headaches were almost unbearable.  I knew if the tumor went into my brain, my thinking process would be greatly compromised and beating the cancer probably wouldn’t happen.  My first trip to the hospital in Mexico was 2 months later.  After three weeks of alternative treatments, the lump had shrunk, but I felt like I had been hit by a truck.  I looked horrible too.  I was too sick to work at all.  I followed the “cancer restraint diet” and did daily treatments at home.  After a couple of months, things started improving.  I went back for another week of treatments in August.  I still didn’t know if I would be alive in two months, much less two years or beyond.  As we approached the date for the Trans Siberian Orchestra concert, I was still alive.  I was feeling pretty good, but not good enough to work, doing any of the jobs I had done in the past.  My mom was making my house payments, child support almost paid the utilities and I was scraping by on minimal dshs assistance with food stamps.  There were no extras.  I didn’t have the money for the tickets.  I had made it the year.  Somehow it had to happen.  I put an ad on Craigslist asking for someone to give me the tickets.  Every two days I would take it down and repost it.  The day of the concert, an angel sent me a link to her tickets.  She said her daughter had a soccer game and they couldn’t go.  I was overwhelmed.  I called Cameron’s dad and told him I was taking Cameron to the concert.  I was nervous getting over that hurdle too, since back then, he rarely budged from the parenting plan.  I picked Cameron up later that day, and told him he was getting his Christmas present early.  He loved the concert.  I cried many times during the concert, so thankful I was still alive to be able to give him the experience.  What an awesome gift!  Something he would always remember in case I wasn’t there for the next Christmas.  As the concert date approached the next year, again, I was excited to still be alive.  This time, I had a job and money to buy the tickets.  We decided to make it our annual Christmas tradition.

Tonight is our 5th Trans Siberian Orchestra concert together.  We were laughing yesterday, about how I’ll be alive long after TSO stops having concerts.  Until then, we will continue to go.  Hopefully next year I will not only be alive, but be cancer free too!

Love, gratitude and blessings to you all!

Susan