Monday, September 5, 2016

A Right of Passage

Five years ago, I was a different person. In some ways, I was never so vulnerable as I was in September of 2011. I was receiving chemotherapy for breast cancer, but I truly had no idea that my life would be forever changed. I must have had an inkling because when my friend suggested I would find a new normal, I remember thinking, "My life is so far from normal, it will never feel like any kind of normal again." I almost resented her for saying that.

As all cancer patients, I did the only thing I could do; I took one day at a time. I lived in fear. I awakened every morning with a heaviness in my heart & a lump in my throat. It was as if even in my sleep, I couldn't get away from this awful thing that happened to me. My life seemingly came to a halt while the lives of others kept happening. I was consumed by my diagnosis; yet it was surreal at the same time (as if I were looking in the mirror, but I didn't recognize my own reflection). The person I saw in the mirror lived in emotional pain, a pain that would not go away.

As I faced each day, my mind was on overdrive. I remained thankful for the good things in my life, but little did I know the surprises that were waiting around the corner. I remember thinking that if I made it to the 5 year mark, my odds would significantly improve. My rate of recurrence would decrease. BUT research changed that little fact. No longer would that be true. My kind of cancer was removed from that category. My odds would remain the same.

So… here I am at this 5 year mark. Wow! I made it! My odds may not be any better than they were 5 years ago, but I believe my odds are better. It's just a feeling. It has no basis. I just feel like I've made it this far, & I am on a roll. I believe I have much life left to live & live it well. As I mentioned, in spite of my sad state, in spite of the fact that my life had halted, some surprises awaited me. These surprises were not anything I could imagine. I don't know why, but I just had no idea what would come my way & the great impact it would have on me.

God not only allowed me to live, to face a tornado, to lose my beloved mother, to walk this cancer journey which emotionally felt like Hell… He kept me alive & gave me 2 grandchildren. I had no idea the unspeakable joy these 2 little darlings would bring me. I didn't know that they would be my breath of fresh air. I didn't know that my healing would come through their unconditional love. I didn't know that they would be my sunshine. They would be the faces I would picture every time my blood pressure was taken. They would be my escape from that heavy heart & lump in my throat.

So… I made it to my right of passage. I never really imagined I would or wouldn't. I just kept facing each day as I could. I have lost much over the last 5 years, perhaps more than I ever imagined. BUT, in my losses also came my gain. Who knows where I would be if cancer never happened to me? I know my life would be in a different place. I cannot imagine where I would be today without my little grand babies. I think God wrapped them up , one with a satin blue ribbon & the other with pink. They came to my heavy heart labeled "Special Delivery." I am here. I am grateful.