I think I might have some insight into why I don’t feel lucky, nor do I always respond positively when friend, loved ones, and well-meaners tell me I’m lucky, or that I should feel lucky. Why don’t I? Because I’ve been lucky before. When I was 17 I was diagnosed with stage 1 malignant melanoma on my back. It was treated surgically, and thank G-d, I didn’t have to have chemo or radiation.
But at that time in life– I was a senior in high school and looking forward to graduating with a diploma and cosmetology license– to be told I had a potentially terminal disease that would be 100% cured, was pretty damned scary. I felt VERY lucky. In fact, I felt SO lucky that I celebrated every chance I got. I changed my life’s path, deciding to go to college instead of working in the profession for which the Berkley School District paid for me to be trained. Being ‘lucky’ gave me license to break out of my good girl shell and do, not horrible things, but things that were out of the norm for me. Mostly, it involved a little Boone’s Farm Tickle Pink and friends’ house we liked to call the ________ Party Palace (the blank is a family name. Those who were there might not want me to share it, ya know? And what happened at the ________ Party Palace STAYS at the _______ Party Palace!). In retrospect, it was a contained crazy. It could have been a lot worse. I never did hard drugs or got an STD or pregnant. I finished college and then some. Still, I went from a girl who was very contained and introverted to someone willing to take risks others might consider scary or stupid. However, my feeling lucky also gave me a lot of self-confidence. If I could beat cancer, traveling to Israel by myself, not knowing anyone, didn’t seem so nuts. Going on for a Master’s and Ph.D. seemed to be pretty rational for someone as lucky as I.
So why don’t I feel lucky today? Number one reason? Yeah, I might have dodged a worse breast cancer diagnosis, but that SOB cancer caught me again. And this time, I don’t have the koach or the taste buds for Boone’s Farm Tickle Pink.