The Love I Never Expected

80’S CANCER JAM OF THE DAY:

I know this is going to seem strange to some of you, but others will have an immediate spark of recognition, perhaps nodding your head or even shedding a tear as you see yourself in what I am about to write.

Breast cancer has certainly brought a lot of changes into my life. Most of them have been unwelcome and frightening, forcing me to find strength I never knew I had in the face of my own mortality. Yet, it hasn’t all been negative.

Being stripped of my comfortable outward identity has forced me to relate in a more raw, honest way with others, as I described in “Can Breast Cancer Make You More Beautiful?”. Having this disease has given me the opportunity to meet and interact with a host of Earth angels who have restored my faith in humanity. And now, the most unexpected thing has happened. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been having what could almost be described as an out-of-body experience.

As I ran along a wooded path yesterday, I held back sobs. I felt an overwhelming sense of appreciation for my body as it chugged along for 3 miles, doing what I asked of it once again despite the suffering it has endured. I could almost hear a small voice begin to speak.

“I couldn’t help it that this happened, you know. I tried so hard to keep the cancer away. I fought so long and so hard, but I got too tired. It’s not my fault. I don’t understand why you keep letting them hurt me. Please let it be done. Don’t let them burn me. I’m feeling so much better and stronger now. Please protect me.”

It nearly took my breath as I listened. My heart ached. I felt the guilt of a mother who holds her child down while a wound is stitched. Tears stream down her face as her child’s eyes beg the question, “Why are you doing this to me?”

“It’s for your own good, to make you better” I thought. “What else can I do? It’s all so confusing and the choices are terrible. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”

In that moment, I felt a fiercely protective love. For the first time in my life, I cherished myself like a toddler with bouncing golden curls and huge, trusting blue eyes. I vowed to spoil myself and show my tremendous appreciation for the body and soul that have bounced back with relentless courage and spirit after each insult.

As I finished my run, I said to that little voice, “I love you. You are my hero.”

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