Who knew that between last September and now I would have such a change of attitude with respect to cancer?
It seemed like a death sentence: Stage IV ovarian cancer. The internet almost grieved for me as it outlined my shortened life expectancy. There were so many times when I would go to research something about my cancer and realize that I had read “too much”. How accurate were those statistics? What were they based on? How likely would I become one of those stats? It just seemed wiser to live in a slight ignorance – it was easier to be hopeful.
It was difficult to be a wife, a mother, a friend, and a cancer patient at the same time. This was a new world for me. I had always been the one to whom people turned for support. Cancer shook the foundations of my very purpose in life. What would my life look like if I wasn’t to be the one to support, rather the one to be supported?
Time and faith have taught me to slow down and to look carefully for what matters most. My eyes have been opened, yet, I still have so much to see. If I were up and running right now – I wonder what else I would miss? Life races. It is possible to walk through the woods without seeing. It is possible to be surrounded by music and not hear. It is possible to live in love without loving back. Life is so ephemeral and we can but live it but one sip at a time.
Today – I’m waiting to see if the pain from my drugs hits me. One step at a time. The last time I had this drug I was in sheer agony. But – so far so good. It is not good to anticipate pain – it makes me nervous – I know that. Battling the anticipation has taught me courage. I have stared anxiety in the eye and am making the very best effort I can to tear it down.
I used to race in the morning to get ready for work. I was not “present” with my family. In my head, I was already at work, solving problems. The frantic pace blinded me to relationships that today have flourished because I have “seen” them. How sad it is to be so lost in work that life becomes blurred. If we had the luxury of greeting one problem, one challenge, one thing at a time – we could really live more deeply and meaningfully.
Today – I ramble.
Cancer has definitely taken its toll on my body…but oddly enough, if I may be bold as to say… not on my spirit. Cancer has been a good teacher – albeit a teacher I wouldn’t want to have again. I have been re-united with friends who I love. I have appreciated mid-night moments with my children. I have walked through valleys of trust and compassion with my husband and emerged stronger, more appreciative. I have seen “life” and the glory of the sun. I have felt the bitter wind at my face and appreciated feeling alive. I look forward to feeling the warmth anytime now!
Today, in silent reflection, I no longer see cancer as my death sentence, but rather, my gift of life.