The journey of difficulty and grace wrapped up into a package describes this past year for me. This is not a stellar week for me. A year ago today I headed into the surgery that would uncover that I had cancer, four days later I would hear the “C” word uttered in my direction.
As you can imagine the difficulty part for me was surgery, chemo, and the physical aftermath of both of those things. To finish off the package is the awkward bow of hormonal and physical changes all wrapped in a messy package called cancer. It’s a DIFFICULT path.
Cancer though has been a gift. I never would have said that a year ago. To think that I’d ever be thankful for cancer seemed like a cruel joke. It has brought the most real people into my life. An appreciation for life. A thankfulness for early mornings and sleepless nights. A love for solitude when I struggled with this prior. New outlook on life, unlike anything I could have ever imagined. Vibrancy of colors that didn’t exist prior and lastly an internal celebration of the little things in life.
Cancer takes grace to maneuver. Prior to a year ago grace was often something I didn’t provide myself with. I was more interested in being the person everyone else wanted me to be. Cancer continues to teach me that I cannot control everything and that I have to let go of the things I cannot control. It’s living life somewhere between effort and surrender.
It is also the grace and difficulty of knowing I don’t have to have all of the answers to everything and that my responses don’t have to have some grand meaning behind them. Tonight I had a friend tell me that he had no words. I wanted to praise God that I have friends that don’t need to have answers, the grace to know I am not looking for them to have answers, the realization that not everything happens for a reason (because it DOES NOT) and the humility of knowing that is perfectly ok.
I am so thankful for the things cancer has graced me with. I would not give it up for anything. I sat on the balcony of the Discovery Ball overlooking the night below and reflecting on the people I was surrounded by that night and those I’ve been surrounded by for a year. From the women in the guild, to those who brought us meals, to those in my support group, to friends who had walked the path before me, to those I met this past year in various avenues, those have been some of the most genuine people I’ve ever met. I simply would not trade that for the world. They get it, I don’t have to work to try and explain, they simply get it. There is something to be said for that, it’s elegance in motion.
I have come such a long way. I did not look forward to 2017 because I knew it was going to be hard. I never expected to have the thankfulness I have now for the biggest test of my life. I have never been more thankful to wake up in the mornings, thankful for sunrises, sunsets, still moments on the patio, solitude, rediscovering old hobbies, for having an amazing time with friends, to real conversations, to family, and lastly for learning how to not apologize for how I feel. I believe I have learned more in one year than I did in a decades time. Another life lesson I learned this year is that work isn’t worth taking home, it’s not worth stealing my joy at home, and it certainly isn’t worth the time I should be spending with my family. I was always the employee prior that my boss often talked to me about work life balance and how I needed to live more and work less. I no longer have that problem. I now leave work at work for the most part and I’ve never been happier about that. Hello truly living! Cancer is gracefully difficult. Raise those Cabernet glasses with me and toast to cancer! Cheers to making it a year!