“The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.” -F. Scott Fitzgerald
This quote describes what I felt when diagnosed with breast cancer. It was surreal. I wanted to step outside of my body and observe. Reality being what it was demanded my presence.
I armed myself with as much educational information as possible. I sought out the best specialists and followed their recommendations. There was literature to read and study, multidisciplinary team meetings, surgery schedules, treatment plans and recovery.
When it came time for radiation treatments, I hit a brick wall. Prior to the first treatment, a trial run was scheduled. It was at this appointment I fell apart and burst into tears. At that moment my radiation therapist became my counselor, confidante, and human resources consultant. Afterward I was so physically and emotionally exhausted that I went home and went to bed.
What I had failed to see was tears were an elixir for the soul. My heart needed to grieve. My inner child needed to express her fear. She needed reassurance.
My faith had a solid foundation. I was not about to bargain or barter with God by saying, “If you get me through this I will do anything you want.” I knew His will would prevail.
Breast cancer is a marathon and not a sprint. Endurance is needed and required. It is arduous and knocks the wind out of your sails. Finally after months of procedures and appointments it was time to start putting the pieces of my life back together.
A New Normal
When you survive cancer, your life does not return to what it was. In cancer-speak we are told we will discover and define a new “new normal”. At first that sounded to me like settling. Would this provide the jump-start that my mediocre life needed?
Learning to live in the moment brought me peace. I was no longer looking in the rear view mirror of life. I surrounded myself with nutritious people and let go of the toxic ones. New friends, connections and opportunities emerged.
My work is now defined by my passion, which is writing. Cancer taught me life is short and time is precious. For me, fighting breast cancer was a rewarding experience.