19 April 2010
Saturday marked my two-month anniversary in terms of my cancer diagnosis. Honestly, this has been an incredibly long 60 days with much to do, so many new things to learn, many new life experiences and reflections. As I told a friend yesterday, writing this journal has been very therapeutic, as it allows me to put each day and this journey in better perspective. So, today I decided to reflect about all that I have learned so far about cancer and the battle to overcome it.
Lesson #1: Hearing the “C” word is a very frightening moment, one to never be forgotten. It conjures up a bevy of emotions – shock, depression, anger, despair, paralyzing fear and disorientation. But through the love of friends and faith in a higher power, the cancer fight also has the ability to create incredible strength to survive, and a spiritual connection with life that is difficult to describe.
Lesson #2: Cancer can be very mean and ugly. As one friend said, she’s learned that it’s more than chemo and wigs. To successfully wage the war, it requires powerful medicines and unattractive suffering. But in the end, we all hang on to the hope that the battle is only temporary, that we will be victorious and life will be kind to us again.
Lesson #3: While cancer can be very ugly, I continue to be amazed and reminded about the beauty of friends, and even strangers. The love of friends, the care from my community, the prayers and good wishes from those afar – it is a testament to the true goodness of mankind. Never forget that we all belong to each other.
Lesson #4: Entering the world of cancer is somewhat like deciding to learn Chinese – it’s an entirely different language. I have spent hours researching “the language” and I still feel like a rooky. But through reading and asking questions, anyone can become somewhat of an expert and in better control over the many decisions presented by your medical team.
Lesson #5: Speaking of your medical team – it doesn’t matter how strong you are, or how determined you feel to cure your body of cancer. The number one ingredient to a successful fight is a brilliant and experienced medical team. You may possess a strong spirit, but you can’t win this war with spirit alone. If cancer enters your life, the medical and treatment team is the number one issue in terms of survival.
Lesson #6: I hold much regret that in my past, I simply did not fully comprehend what other cancer patients were experiencing – until cancer rocked my world. In my future, I commit to being there, being more of a friend to others who find themselves battling this nasty disease.
Lesson #7: Cancer cannot take away hope or faith or courage or spirit. We are the only ones who can extinguish these lifelines of emotional support. Hold on tight, believe in yourself and your medical team, and surround yourself with all things meaningful and encouraging. Cancer or no cancer, each one of us has the opportunity to control our spiritual and emotional destiny. Cancer does not have to take that away from you.
Because this is only month #2, my journey has only begun. I’m sure along the way I will continue to become wiser and learn more lessons. If that holds true, I will continue to share . . .
Posted by Stacy Sells at 11:18 AM