PUN OF THE DAY: I WONDERED WHY THE BALL KEPT GETTING BIGGER AND BIGGER, AND THEN IT HIT ME…
Today marks the one year anniversary of my breast cancer diagnosis. On March 20th last year, I anxiously awaited my biopsy results, sore and bruised from the whirlwind of procedures I had endured the day before. My little delusions fell one by one like dominoes throughout the day. Maybe it’s not cancer. Wrong. Well, ok, maybe it’s not invasive. It is. Ok, maybe it’s not in the lymph nodes, just in the breast. Sorry. I remember when the walls finally came tumbling down and I had to call it a day. Even the most hardcore optimist has to face reality at some point.
Four months of chemotherapy and 28 radiation treatments later, I’m here, still standing, and still running. Physically, I’ve fared better than many. I have no obvious residual effects from the myriad of drugs and poisons injected into my body, other than a touch of menopause which may or may not be permanent.
I have written many times during the course of this year about the emotions that surface when one faces a serious health crisis. In some ways, breast cancer has been a good thing. It has taught me to never take anything for granted. Not time, not memories, and especially not those whom I love most in this world. It has stripped away the vanity that I used to hide behind and forced me to find more authentic ways of dealing with the world. And it has caused me to dig deeper and find more courage than I ever thought possible. Nothing will test your mettle like going out for the first time with the faintest covering of white peach fuzz barely covering a shiny, bald head.
Some people who blog about cancer talk about having lost their way and given up their identities, especially the women. I believe that there is a lot of truth in the idea that cancer is the result of stuffing down emotions and desires, of sacrificing the self in service of others. Of losing passion and giving up dreams. Eventually, the mind rebels against the oppression and demands attention, which is manifested in the body.
In that spirit, I would like you to watch the TED talk above. It’s ostensibly about failing to find passion in your career, but it hit me in the solar plexus as I listened to it. It’s really about listening to your dreams and never settling for an average life. The speaker is wonderful. He’s funny, insightful, and riveting. You’ll be reeled in after the first few seconds.
For myself, I hope and I pray that this is the first of many anniversaries to come.