I want to capture a moment while I’m in it and what better way than to write about it?
I have treatment today. For now, in this moment, treatment means 8 pills a day for one week on and one week off. It also means driving 45 minutes one way once a month for a bone infusion and a shot in my stomach to shut down my ovaries. Shutting down my ovaries has meant menopause since the age of 38. Really, sooner than that because I’ve been on some form of treatment for 7 years now. Seven years! It’s close to unbelievable to me that this is my life. That I am THAT PERSON who has cancer. An incurable cancer at that. Today I feel anxious knowing I have to go sit in a chair by myself, surrounded by cancer and sadness.
It makes me sad but this morning I woke up and had this thought. Would I ever want to go back to the life I had pre-cancer? My immediate and confident answer was NO. I didnt know who I was. I didn’t know who I wanted to be at 32. I was just going through the motions of being a new stepmom, a new wife, and living in our first home together. I was content with the path I was on but looking back I never felt completely fulfilled. In that stagnant moment of my life, I thought I was, but I guess thats what life sort of is. It is all of these moments that we put together, that we throw on a map of our life, and that make us who we are in this very moment. Life is a continuous path of evolving and what I have learned is that we all have the ability to be exactly who we want to be. If you don’t believe that, I suggest you do some soul-searching. Make some time for yourself, figure who you are, what you want, and what you want to give this world.
I have always been a giver. I was raised that way. What I haven’t always been, is the girl who sat out on a limb and put herself out there for the world to see. I am her now. I am her now because it fulfills my desire to give. That one moment, on November 7, 2014, is what changed my life, my perspective, my heart, my path—forever. That moment didn’t happen once, but twice for me. I still find myself asking “why me?”. What did I do to deserve this? It’s a question I know many of us have asked ourselves in moments where we feel helpless. One that we wish someone, God, anyone, would just sit in front of us and give us an immediate answer. Typically, that is never the case. So, we wait. Maybe the answer never comes to us but I’m fairly confident that it will, with a lot of patience, and a lot of mindful self guidance. Pay attention.
What has that moment changed in your life? It is SO easy to focus and give all of the attention to the bad but if you seek the good behind it all, and you focus on that, I believe it will guide you to that “WHY”. Your mind will inevitably shift back to asking why 1,000 more times, and that’s okay. I think that’s what helps us continue to grow. I think that’s what completes our journey to becoming who we are meant to be in this life. It’s fulfilling, at least for me.
I can look at this cancer and ask why a million times. In fact, I have. Every time I get a bad scan, I go back to that question. Sometimes, in between, I ask why. I am constantly reminding myself of everything amazing that has happened in the last 7 years. I remind myself of all the people I have met along the way. I’ve met some of the most incredible, genuine, loving, and honest people. I have these conversations that I walk away from and I have chills because of how much I had learned about myself and about someone else in a matter of 10 minutes. I listen. I share. I love with my whole heart now. I give with my whole heart. I receive with my whole heart. I enjoy simple moments, I enjoy big moments, all the same. I feel and empathize with others’ pain. I find joy in others happiness. I can’t think of any other way to put it other than this: My heart feels peaceful and full. It feels that way because I know, I am confident, I am on the right path in life. That is the answer to my “WHY”.
So would I change that one moment on my map? The one that changed my forever? The one that, at the time, I was sure my life was over and the rest of it was going to be hell? The answer is simple: absolutely not. For the first time in my life, I can honestly say that I am happy. I love with every ounce of my being. I AM THE LUCKY ONE. I am privileged to know what it feels like to sit in a single moment, good or bad, and just be thankful for it. I am here. I am enough. It’s that simple. Maybe tomorrow, I’ll ask myself “why” again. Maybe the answer to myself will be different but I am not waiting for someone else to answer that question for me. I know it is up to me to seek and discover why God has put me on this path. It’s also up to you. Patience, self guidance, self love, confidence—seek and you shall find, right? The answer is there. Maybe not immediately, but it is there.
We all deserve that peaceful heart and I am full of gratitude, in this moment, a moment I am feeling while I am in it. Another moment on my map. My hope for you is that you take that moment on your own map, and seek the gratitude behind it. And what a perfect way to enter the season of Thanksgiving. You owe yourself a little “Thanks giving”. After all, you are alive to simply read this, aren’t you? Isn’t that, in itself, enough to be grateful for?