Today was my last day of Radiation!!!! I have been going every day for the past 6 weeks and it is the final of my last big set of treatments and it feels so weird to be coming to the end and yet so freeing. I will still have infusions through next fall but that only occurs every 3 weeks so less commitments on my time make it feel like this is all about over. After those are complete, I'll get my port removed where I have been receiving these infusions. I will also have some type of monitoring every 3 months for the next 3 years. I've thought a lot about the pros and cons of consistent monitoring. I think our mind plays a powerful role in all this. If I have the mindset of waiting for the other shoe to drop and assuming I will have something pop up, then it probably will. If I can somehow view this as a way to check how healthy I am, I think this could be a really good thing. I do struggle with keeping myself in that space but I think with anything, it is a practice and hope to consistently practice this to get better at knowing I will continue to be in excellent health.
When I was first diagnosed, I wrote these words down as they literally flowed from my heart without even thinking. "I have a little friend here sitting in my body. This friend isn’t here to stay long, but is here to teach me. I don’t quite know the lessons that it has come to show me or share with me but I know it’s just for a season of my life. The medical doctors are going to call it cancer, I call it my teacher."
I have had to go back to this space and knowing so many times throughout this experience as I have seen, read and experienced the mortality of others related to cancer. I can't say I haven't been discouraged or wondered when or if that would be me. But then I would silently reflect back to this feeling, deep within, so deep it became a knowing. It wasn't a thought, it wasn't an "I think" I will be ok, it was truly a confirmation in my spirit that I would be healed. Even though I found out that tissue samples from my my surgery in January came back completely clear, it wasn't until the last couple of weeks that I started to experience the reality and feeling of this miracle in my life.....that I am healed.
If this diagnosis and disease was my teacher, very early on, it felt really important for me not to take ownership of this disease. There's a few words I felt didn't belong on this journey when I talked about it or thought about it. One word I didn't use is "MY" in referring to cancer. It wasn't mine, it was in my body but this didn't belong to me. If it was an invader and if it wasn't there to stay then why would I want to use words that made me want to possess it? I also didn't want to say "I'm sick" because I actually never once did feel sick from the diagnosis. I had sickness induced by chemotherapy but the cancer itself never made me feel sick. But I would say my most profound realization came to me recently of the use of words in any of the expressions that use the word "Fight" in regards to cancer. That is a word I actually did use myself at one point or another such as the expressions "My cancer fight" or "My fight with cancer." In thinking about these expressions recently, I can say for me, this process and experience has most certainly been a battle within myself. However, the solution was never to armor up and FIGHT against myself but to actually SURRENDER. That is actually the delicate space where the discovery unfolds and where the teacher can teach.
As the sun has come out here in Seattle and it is feeling more and more like spring is around the corner, it most certainly feels like a parallel to my life as I reflect back over this past year. Winter hibernation has given way to so many internal shifts, a going inside, a look within. And like spring, a blooming has also begun. A newness to my life and an awakening within. A shift has definitely occurred where all the things I thought I knew and believed about myself, about my life, about so many things have transformed remarkably but in the most beautiful way ever. It's a shift so pure yet so drastic that there is no old me to go back to but I don't quite know who the new me is quite yet either. I call this my metamorphosis because I recently read how caterpillars dissolve into a glop as they begin their metamorphosis into a butterfly. My life kind of turned into that similar glop this past year as I have melted away all the exterior of myself to find my real essence.
In this process a more intentional and connected me that has been uncovered. A me that feels more connected to humanity in a way I have never experienced. To start feeling the oneness between us as opposed to our separateness from each other. To clearly see how and why we are all more intimately connected than we at times give thought or weight to. When we can find the space to actually SEE someone who seems so separate or different from us and we begin to find out why their heart aches, where their loneliness is held, what brings them joy then we open ourselves to feel our connection with them and a oneness with our creator. Now is the time to embark on my own discovery and search to find what is my path and contribution to humanity in a way that opens me up to a greater capacity to love?
As I reflect on this past year, all I see is beauty and growth. There was absolutely hardship, but that isn't what is shining bright in my rear view mirror. All I see is that I was gifted through this experience the discovery of the real me and I wouldn't give this experience back for anything. And so with that...I can say that I feel like my journey is just beginning.
Thank you all for EVERYTHING. For the strength, support, love, kindness, prayers, good thoughts and energy. Thank you for carrying me through with YOUR love. It has been a gift to me, from you.