Every now and then I write or repost something about having cancer. Not because I want sympathy or attention, but because often readers write me and ask me about it. Since many of you have had cancer, and or know someone who has, your stories, thoughts, and knowledge might help someone, some how. Please feel free to add to the comment section, or to my Facebook page. If each of shares what we know to be true, then there is hope for understanding and eventually a cure.
I have met many people through my blog who have or had cancer. There is a bond of compassion that goes between people when they share something that you have experienced. When you share something that has carved a path within you, there is a silent understanding of knowing that unites one to the other.
Most of the people who write to me want to know what I did to beat the odds, how did I survive, how did I heal, what miracle was I given... I am not certain I did anything differently than anyone else who has this disease.
I cried. I prayed and I wanted to live.
Whenever I am asked I recall that time of panic, of fear, of everything becoming precious and dear... having cancer makes life, the small and mundane, that which we take for granted and every moment breathing, appear in technicolor. Life suddenly, becomes richer when you are branded with the reality of death on your doorstep.
I remember the joy of washing dishes, the wondrous hot water, the suds looking like diamonds... I remember thinking that washing dishes was such a gift! Yes having cancer made each step of living richer, beautiful, holy....
In retrospect cancer made me wake up, made me "see" life...
What did I do to survive cancer? If I had an answer I would be a very rich woman and so would many many others. I wish I had the answer so others could be healed... but I don't.
What I didn't do is this.... I never gave up believing that the only moment I had was the one right where I stood. I was alive and living, cancer did not rob my soul.
I also did not say or like to hear the words Battling Cancer, or Put up a good fight... those words made me feel I was in battle against myself. I couldn't stand that idea.
So instead I changed the vocabulary.
That is not a cure to cancer. Nor is it the only thing I did to try to heal myself. Most of all I felt I was lucky and it took years to accept that without feeling guilty.
The words fight and battle just did not set well with me. I did not like the meaning of those words. It felt like I was in a war zone with myself. I knew cancer was not good, that I had to think positive but "Fight" and "Battle" I could not imagine that. Everyday, whether in the shower, or right before bed, or while waiting in the grocery store line, or in a traffic jam... I would close my eyes and imagine coming face to face with the cancer cells within me. I imagine I was inside myself facing the cancer cells that had gone awry. I would see them like round dark circles I would tell them that I wanted them to be well. I needed them to be well. I would ask them (myself) what made them go awry? How did I let part of me down? Then I would say they had to come into the light and live, right, normal, healthy so that we could live.
Then I would hug them. I hugged and loved the cancer cells within me instead of "fighting the battle." I did not love cancer, but I used it as a tool for healing.
If you have any stories or thoughts of encouragement to share please do..... I know a few friends who will be reading.