On Tuesday (7/7/2020) of this past week, I posted this on Facebook:
On this day, ten years ago, I was told (for the first time) that I had cancer. Unlike my previous cancerversaries, this one has been exceptionally emotional. I feel as though I have been on a rollercoaster ride all day – I have felt gratitude for this life, for outliving my original expiration date, but also, a tremendous amount of grief, survivor’s guilt, and fear. There’s simply too much in my head and in my heart to describe here.
So, I will quote Desiderata, as I do every July 7th:
“Be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe.
No less than the trees and the stars;
You have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
No doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”
Thank you, so much, for all of the prayers, love and light that you have given to me throughout this past decade. There are no words for just how much I appreciate all of you.
My head and my heart really were spinning. In the past, I had celebrated my cancerversaries with cake (preferably cakes with rainbow sprinkles on top of them). This one, I didn’t. I didn’t have the heart to celebrate…which I still can’t explain, even to myself.
Last Wednesday, July 8th, 2020, I was more at peace with it all. The rollercoaster ride had ended and I was settled. Grounded in the present moment. This, too, mirrored how I felt ten years ago; on 7/8/2010, I was at peace. Complete and utter peace with my diagnosis. I firmly believed that whatever happened to me, was God’s will. It was His plan.
I know now, that that’s called, “shock”.
Despite the description of how I felt as being, “shock”, I prefer to think of it as peace, as comfort, and as assurance of His presence. I’m going to be stubborn about this one; say “shock” and I’m going to say “serenity”.
My Facebook post was met with a tremendous wave of love and good wishes. It was humbling and comforting. I couldn’t ask for better family and friends. The support was exactly what I needed to recover from a day spent sobbing (on both sides of the shower curtain). I also received some lovely, invaluable advice—which I plan to utilize.
One Facebook friend described her coping mechanism as doing what she loves, as much as she can.
What do I love to do?
Write. Read. Spend time with these furry babies:
Spending time in the garden is another hobby that brings me joy.
It’s a miracle that most of everything is still alive (let’s not talk about the pepper plants that my dad gave me or the Bachelor Buttons that I tried to transplant). It has been a privilege to watch my pea plants flower and produce pods.
And, then, there’s this curiosity:
I’ve never witnessed an onion going to seed before! There’s something beautiful about it.
Another element of life that I thoroughly enjoy is being artsy. My latest project involved capturing our fur babies’ paw prints in salt dough.
I’m not quite finished with this project; they need another coat of white paint and some detailing in either blue or black.
It’s a small thing, but it is a keepsake that I am sure we will treasure for the rest of our lives.
Echoing the above sentiment, is the gift box that my mom gave me (along with the gift inside of it) for my most recent birthday. The top of the box reads, “Enjoy the little things…for one day you will look back and realize they were the big things”. I don’t know who to attribute this quote to, but I feel as though it is of the utmost importance to embrace.
This “little thing” was stretching up alongside the raised bed garden, probably sniffing at the lettuce, kale and carrots. She’s still too small to hop up into it (which, of course, is a good thing).
Although I suspect that Tiny (pictured above – can you see her white tail?) is the one responsible for the destruction of the Johnny Jumps, I can’t help but feel blessed every time I see her.
Perhaps celebration wasn’t something that I could do on July 7th, but today, I feel ready to count all of the remarkable blessings that I have been given.
En (one) – renewed faith
To (two) – my husband, our fur babies, as well as my family, both biological and married into
Tre (three) – the friends that I have made along the way
Fire (four) – the gift of continued learning (including Norwegian and the classes that I will be taking to become a professional medical coder)
Fem (five) – the gift of the five senses, so that I can see, hear, smell, taste, touch all of the God-given wonders of this life
Seks (six) – simply being alive!
Sju (seven) – my readers, who encourage me to keep writing, even when it’s difficult.
Thank you, Dear Readers, for your presence here today. You are a treasure to me. I am sending prayers, love and light your way.
With Love & Gratitude,
Resources for the Curious
“Desiderata” is, in actuality, much longer than the segment that I shared on Facebook. It’s an inspiring poem by Max Ehrmann and is absolutely worth Googling!