The Blessings of Cancer
While the world is increasingly becoming more of a seemingly apocalyptic place to live in with massive fires, hurricanes, mudslides, drought, political insanity and more friends and loved ones diagnosed with cancer daily, I am choosing to focus on the blessings of the Stage 3 Breast Cancer diagnosis that changed my life in September, 2016.
It would be far too easy to wallow in self pity with the reality that two of my closest friends have died from cancer in a two year period at the young ages of 46 and 47 and the life threatening diagnosis I received. I could choose to drown in grief and curse the word cancer, but I know the secret to healing lies in embracing adversity and facing my darkest shadows. As I find the beauty in the darkness, I find celebration in the sorrow. I see the cancer as a gift to wake me up to what it is to truly live. I see that death has surrounded me as a precious lesson for me to claim my life!
So I wrote this list, sharing WHY I’m GRATEFUL for the gift of cancer. (Btw, finding an attitude of gratitude has been one of my key tools to healing!)
1. I am a caregiver. Like most breast cancer journeyers I find it easy to take care of others, while in the past my needs would go last. Thank you cancer for helping me to learn to put my needs first! Learning to accept help and support from others is a huge wake up call for me. For someone who has created fundraisers for others in their time of need and has stubbornly wanted to do things on my own it has been a huge boon to accept help from others. I’m incredibly grateful for all the kindness from so many wonderful people! I have learned and embraced how truly loved I am.
2. Opening my heart. When you know you might die, you realize what truly matters. Yes, I have had a fair amount of armor over my heart and there’s nothing like the big C word to melt blocks that keep you from embracing love. It’s not always easy but in the perspective of life and death choosing an open heart is infinitely more satisfying.
3. Choosing love over fear. My best friend Deb taught me this as she journeyed with leukemia. In the many struggles she faced, her continual question was how could she keep her heart open and choose love over fear. It is a daily question for all of us. Where can we embrace rather than push away? Where can we open in vulnerability, rather than shrink away in fear?
4. Finding my own ability to heal myself. I choose a route of healing far from the conventional medical path as honestly I was horrified at the idea of four months of chemotherapy, surgery, radiation and taking hormones. I decided to do a solid path of healing that was in alignment with the health of my immune system. In this choice I realized that I hold the ability to heal myself, that if I believed I would heal I indeed would! What a gift it is to realize the powerful potential that WE ALL possess!
5. There are many of us on this healing cancer naturally journey. We are a tribe of seekers diving in deep to do our inner work and taking responsibility for the intrinsic healing of our mind, body and spirit. In this we know we are not alone but are here to help one another through the joy and struggles on the heroines/hero’s journey. I am blessed to know many of these brave, courageous souls!
6. Treating my body as the temple it is. What does my body need to heal? Sunshine? Rest? Hanging with my horses and dog? Going to the river? Laughter? Friendship? Exercise? Play? Quiet? A cancer diagnosis is a wake up call to truly listen to your body. Love and care for the temple that you call home in this lifetime and it will serve you well.
It is important to recognize that through the challenges there are many things to be grateful for.
What are you grateful for on your health/healing journey? What are your blessings?