Monday, November 1, 2021


 “I give you two years to live.”

Time shifted, moving like molasses, and a darkness threatened to overtake me right there in the d*mn hospital room. 

No one else heard the news with me because COVID limited visiting hours. Nope, I needed to be strong and digest this alone.

Two years. My thoughts reeled. 24 months. 104 weeks. 730 days. That would make Ruby 20, Sky 18, Trey 14, and Indy 12. I have four kids. To not see all of them reach adulthood, start their careers, get married… To not grow old with Mike…

“I’m only in my 30s. You can fix this. Can’t you?” The words slipped out slowly, as if uttered by someone else.

“No. I’m sorry, Elisa. We can’t.”

A doctor told me this during my month-long hospitalization that started on Oct. 30, 2020.

This past weekend—the one-year anniversary of my diagnosis and my hospitalization in Utah— felt surreal.

As if trapped in an hour-glass, the sands of time cascade around me, and I’m stuck up to my waist. Sand continues dumping, getting caught in my hair, and occasionally my mouth and eyes…but it’s not falling as quickly now. “You might even have up to ten years!” A doctor recently told me. And although I’m exceedingly grateful, I can’t help thinking of the initial two-year diagnosis—and the fact that death still circles like a vulture in the wind.

If half my time were really over, what have I done with it? What do I have to show for the past year?

I scanned through pictures. Memories poured over me, just like the sand in that hour-glass. I remembered: fiddling for cancer patients; losing my hair; being selected as the angel family; enduring debilitating surgeries, infusions, and radiation; fighting liver failure and sepsis; and losing several friends who died too soon (suicide, overdose, cancer, car accident…). And then I found pictures of Mike and the kids. I remembered when family and friends came to visit. I couldn’t help grinning over road trips and time fishing, card games and movie nights.

Then it hit me: how much I’ve bonded with those who matter most. Like a bag cinched before a long journey, this has just brought all of us closer. And although I’m still scared, and we are “living scan to scan” (as the doctor says), I am PROUD. We’ve made it through so much. 

Hardship littered every bit of this past year’s pathway, but there have been so many breadcrumbs from God all along too—signs that I’m exactly where I’m meant to be. Cancer diagnosis—death sentence—or not, I am the luckiest. To still be making memories, that might be the greatest gift of all.

Anyway, hopefully I have more than a single year left now (maybe even 10 as the doctor says). It really does put things in perspective though. What would you do, if you only had one year to live?