Beachside 

Two years ago today I announced my diagnosis with cancer. What a different week this has been than compared to that of 2014. Crying everyday, in and out of doctors offices – but this past week I have been relaxing beachside in Jamaica. I know my doctors never thought I would be sitting here today – myself, not so sure. 

Now that this life has become my constant, I can begin to reflect back on the innocence I once had. I was so scared but confident I would kick cancer in the butt. I had a lot of anger and would sometimes take that out on people close to me. Some of those people understood that my mind was so fucked up I couldn’t control it – and they stuck around. For that I am forever grateful. Others were not as strong. When you enter into the “chronic disease” category, the life around you shifts. Some people rally behind you and say things like “Don’t worry, I am in your corner.” But as the days and weeks turn into years, some of them slowly take off their gloves and step out of the ring. They too are exhausted from supporting the constant fight. It is very difficult for me to watch people one by one drop their gloves, but I am starting to come to peace with it. I too am exhausted fighting, but I don’t have the option to back out. I must keep going. Round after round I await for the judges to announce their victor, but it never seems to happen. So I wipe my brow, pick up my gloves, and get back in the ring. 

As I reach the end of my vacation, the reality of what is to come starts to set in. Tuesday I will have another scan to determine how my summer will be. There is no “winning” option, so I am not sure what to hope for. The fighter in me says surgery. Cut and conquer. Surgery will hopefully buy me some time for a much needed break from treatment. Just once I would like to have an appointment where they say, “Your scan is clear. See you in three months.” 

The warm breeze blowing across my body right now reminds me to take the time to appreciate what is in front of me today. Maybe three month breaks are not in my future – but today I am happy. Today I feel strong. So today I will enjoy my last day here and try not to worry about what is to come. 

  

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Living With Disease

That is the new category I fall into now. During my first visit with my naturopath she said something to me that changed my whole perspective on my life moving forward. I was trying to hold it together while going over with her my history in the past year and a half. While my guard was down, through my tears I asked the question we are told to never ask, “How long do you think I have?” This was her answer:

“You are living with disease. A disease we call cancer. Unfortunately in our society the word “cancer” always has people instantly thinking of death. That does not have to be the case. There are many people out there who are also living with disease. People with alzheimers, diabetes, multiple sclerosis. You can live with your disease as long as you are getting the correct support in order to help you MANAGE that disease.”

YES. Just because I have stage 4 cancer should not mean my life is over. I just have to work harder than most people in order to sustain my life. But that does not mean there isn’t a strong possibility that my life can be sustained for years on end. I have built around me an amazing support team including family, friends and doctors – and my team is still being built. Adding the new addition of a naturopath is only going to make my team stronger. Positive energy and positive thinking can bring great things.