2016 started off with the long awaited day that brought the news my family and I were hoping for: remission. Words cannot explain the flood of emotions after 165 days of diagnosis, radiation, chemotherapy, and testing for cancer in my reproductive organs.
My cancer journey has brought me face-to-face with challenges I never expected to have to deal with. First, I was consumed by the question of “Why?” and with my own uncompassionate thoughts towards myself. That led me to the phrase that would become my motto over the next several months: Get Busy Living.
Then there was the inevitable hair loss. I did what I could to contain it, including using a Hair Saver system (which did what it was supposed to do), but when I dared to post a public picture of myself working out without a wig or bandana on, I learned that Not Everyone Can Deal With My Bare Head.
Now I’m closing the book on this chapter and forging ahead. My life will no longer be dictated by needles, drugs, appointments at infusion centers, radiation machines, follow up appointments, fatigue, bone pain, hair loss, bandanas, wigs and more appointments.
The words ‘remission’ and ‘survivorship’ will now rule my world. And with them, a new set of thoughts and emotions to combat. No one ever said that moving forward would be easy. What they forgot to tell me was that life after treatments would have more effects than the drugs and radiation themselves.
Uncertainty may define the future. Will the “C” return? If it does, will it be worse? Will I have to undergo chemo ever again? Can I make it 5 years to gain the official diagnosis of “cured?” Will anxiety and depression take over? Will I view life, people and situations differently? Will I feel guilty as a survivor? Do I live in fear, or walk in faith?
One thing I do know: Cancer did not bring me to my knees, it brought me to my feet.
I will open a book; it’s pages will be blank. And in it I will put words. The book is called opportunity…and it starts tomorrow. Only time will tell what my sequel holds.
And therefore, I stand on solid ground, stable and strong, ready to for my next fight!
It takes strength to be certain,
It takes courage to have doubts.
It takes strength to fit in,
It takes courage to stand out.
It takes strength to share a friend’s pain,
It takes courage to feel your own pain.
It takes strength to hide your own pain,
It takes courage to show it and deal with it.
It takes strength to stand guard,
It takes courage to let down your guard.
It takes strength to conquer,
It takes courage to surrender.
It takes strength to endure abuse,
It takes courage to stop it.
It takes strength to stand alone,
It takes courage to lean on a friend.
It takes strength to love,
It takes courage to be loved.
It takes strength to survive,
It takes courage to live.