Driving home from a visit with my oncologist, I looked over at the car to my right while waiting for the light to turn green. In the sedan, an elderly woman stretched to see over the top of the steering wheel. My first thought was:
"Lucky you. You got to be old."
I admired her short stature, gray hair and knarled fingers. That she was still driving made the picture all the more beautiful.
That incident took place in 1993, when I did not expect to be so lucky. So far, my course had followed the textbook description of "shorter and shorter remissions that invariably lead to death."
But treatments I subsequently received in three clinical trials saved my life. I have continued to go in and out of treatment for another 19 years, and counting. The textbooks are being rewritten.
Today I am 58 years old. I can't think of a better way to honor this birthday than by delivering a keynote that -- I hope -- helps others. I'll celebrate with my family this weekend.
As I type this post, some of my fingers ache, especially the ones with joints that have become swollen and crooked from osteoarthritis. My hands remind me of the woman in the car.
Lucky, lucky me.