You have cancer.

I have cancer.  Being that it is November, it is breast cancer awareness month.  
And people are sharing their story.

I don't have breast cancer.  I have thyroid cancer.  I wasn't going to tell anyone but then I thought maybe I could help someone who is struggling.   Here is part of my story.

The words I have dreaded most in my life and prayed I would never hear are,  you have cancer......

I have found myself walking around  at home, or in the car driving and it hits me: I have cancer. The word CANCER seems to pop into my mind out of nowhere while doing daily activities. At first it seemed surreal and then there is no denying it, cancer feels like an unwelcome, uninvited guest who moves in with the understanding that no one knows when she is leaving.

I am supposed to go about my life as I always have like nothing has changed.  And yet it has. How do I work with this reality?

The word CANCER constantly flashes like a neon light in my mind and in my world. Allowing cancer to be a part of my life without letting it consume my whole life is a difficult task, but it can be done. It takes commitment and purpose. I understand that it has to settle in my mind for a while and I need to not fear cancer, but work with it. In other words, I had to get used to the reality that I have cancer. And in some strange way, I have become comfortable with cancer being a part of my life for now.

I remember when I was told, I was in shock.  The dr said I am going to tell you this first because after what I need to tell you everything will get foggy, so most of what I say I will direct to your husband and he will have the answers when you are ready for them.  He said you need to know it is going to be ok.  It's in a place where we can definitely work on and get at.  There are many things we can do to fight we will not give up, and neither should you.  We have checked and re-checked your tests and we are certain.

He looked indecisive like he was struggling to say what needed said.  I remember feeling sympathy for the poor man.
He paused and took a deep husband reached out and put his hand on my leg, I could hear the clock ticking on the wall behind me.
You have cancer.
I said "I'm sorry, what?"
You have cancer. 
It felt like I took a sucker punch to my stomach, knocking the wind out of me.  Like I needed to breathe but forgot how.
My ears failed me, I think a marching band could have marched through the office in that moment and I wouldn't have heard it.
Cancer? Cancer? CANCER?

I remember thinking before I went into the office, I kind of had a bad feeling a foreboding about the whole situation.  A pending sort of doom feeling. I guess I already knew but didn't want to know.

I've never told anyone until now that I feared years ago that I might get cancer. My grandma had cancer, lung cancer that ultimately took her life.  I was afraid to hug her or touch her, I was so afraid of "catching it".  Rationally I knew even as a 12 year old that I couldn't catch cancer.  I don't know why I felt that way, but I did.  She has been gone now 19 years, in some ways I still feel guilty for it.
My worst fear, the thing that terrified my nights as a child had in fact become my reality.

How can the world move on as though nothing has changed.  I walked out and into the sunshine of a glorious summer day, the sky was as clear as crystal and brilliantly blue.  I felt the warmth on my face but I felt cold, chilled even.  Didn't the world know?  Did it not care that I have cancer?  It moved right on by without pausing.

I was "only" 32 when I received my diagnosis.  My children are so young my baby is only 2 and it scared me to death that I would not be around for them.  I watched the cancer eat my grandma from a 200 pound robust healthy woman to a frail 90 pounds before it robbed us, and she had to leave.

I thought what am I going to do?
A thought came into my mind just as loud and clear as if it had been shouted in my head.  Move past the fear.  Today you are here, what are you going to do with today?

MOVE PAST the FEAR, MOVE PAST the FEAR has become my mantra.  I have cancer but I am not dying from it.  I am living with it.

The one thing cancer has taught me is to appreciate life more.  I will take a lazy morning and pull my children into bed and watch a Shirley Temple Movie, or I will go and throw snow balls in the back yard.  Before cancer, I was always SOOOO busy.  Busy, doing what?  I don't know but what ever it was isn't as important as what I am doing today.  Today, yes I think we'll  be coloring Scooby-doo pictures sprawled belly down on my living room floor.  And have popcorn and hot cocoa for lunch, my 5 year old always ask for it, and I say "Sure why not"?

I take cancer for what it is, an extra reminder, to be alive. I am more and more grateful for it.     Hmmm who would have thought anyone could be grateful for cancer?

As I become more grateful everyday, I have learned to appreciate the more common aspects of my life on a deeper level. The smell of morning rain.  The feel of the comforter on our bed, my goodness it's so fluffy.  My husbands breath as he sleeps.  Children fighting over staying up a little later or who gets what ice cream 

Paying close attention to things like that is what keeps me in touch with what’s real.  That is exactly what today’s post is about.  So many people spend their lives trying to do and buy so much, that they get distracted from what’s real in their lives.  Human connection is real.  Love is real.  Nature is real.  These are the things that make life as amazing as it is, and these are the things that should be cherished the most.

1 comment:

  1. Sarah, I love you all the day long. You are so amazing. I hope you know that! You are a light shining in my life. You are beautiful, fun, and soooooooooo soosooooo smart. I am grateful to know you. I truly am. Thanks for letting me call you Friend.