Steven is in the guest room with a pretty young model. Sounds sounds like the start of a porn, huh? It’s not. The guest room has been converted to “Studio B”, as he likes to call it. The bed is stored in the garage for more space and we only bring it out when we have advance notice of guests. He’s redecorated the room with lights, reflectors, fans, backdrops, props and a bunch of photography gadgets that look pretty cool even though I have no idea what they are. He is a very good photographer and he’s got a great eye for composition. He loves the art form and has dabbled in it for years on a shoestring budget. But in his dream world he always wanted his own fully equipped professional set up “some day”. Mind you, his dream was also so old that it originally included a dark room!
It’s too bad that real life makes you busy. You put aside a lot of dreams in order to go to work, raise your kids, take care of your house and try not to drink too much! But cancer sure changed that. Suddenly work stays at the office, family becomes more self-sufficient, you don’t get your shorts in a bunch when the house is messy and you try not to drink too much, but if you do, you do! Real life may make you busy, but real sickness makes you relaxWe are firm believers that after a life threatening illness, you’re no longer right in the head. I know it is questionable if either one of us was EVER really “right in the head”. I am sure though, that we got really wacky after cancer visited us. And we both think outside help is key. (Of course when I say “we”, I mean “he” because I’m not at all interested in getting normal! Being wacky has always been part of my charm.) Steven likes to joke that he’s so crazy that sometimes his therapist has to sit in when he visits his psychiatrist! But both professionals have helped him realize Steven 2.0.
After the first time he aced his PET scan, he started wondering why he made it, when so many others don’t. He started questioning why he was here…what was he supposed to do now? Suddenly my husband became Sartre with a southern accent! So when his therapist told him to find something to “express himself”, he jumped right into the digital age with his studio and equipment and just keeps learning each new technique as it pops up in the world of high-tech photography.
We probably never would have spent the money, made the space or opened our imaginations to this avenue had it not been for cancer. However, when you realize that something bad might happen and you haven’t smelled enough roses, you correct that just as soon as you have the energy to start sniffing around. And believe me, you sniff everything!
Life is different after cancer. We’re both different. But Version 2.0 of anything is an upgrade. The bugs have been worked out and it all runs smoother. Problems don’t go away, they just don’t seem as bad. Even cancer. Once you’ve done it and come out on this side of the dirt, you may not want to do it again, but you know you CAN. It’s been said that every day without Chemo is a good day, and we try to make sure that we enjoy each one. Hence, Studio B. It makes him happy, which makes me happy. Because he’s taking photographs, which he loves. And while he’s busy, I’m writing, which I love. When we’re done, we’re going to drink a glass of nice red wine. He’ll have one, and I’ll probably have two…just because I can. And both of us are taking the time to do what we love because we’re 2.0. How is that for a positive spin on cancer?