On May 18, 2016, Brian and I sat in an exam room across from a doctor who told me I had breast cancer.
Sometimes I go back to that day. I sit in that moment, looking out from my scared, disbelieving eyes, and feel the terror. The memories, still raw, leave me queasy.
I’m forever changed.
There are so many different sets of beliefs about why things happen to us. Some people believe there is no God and that things are random, with no rhyme or reason. Some people believe in a loving God that knows all things. Others believe that the evil in the world is what causes things like cancer to exist.
What do I believe?
I believe in the lessons. Sometimes it takes dropping a bomb in the middle of your world to force you out of your own way and make you see things without obstruction.
Certainly, I miss the days when my worries were simple. The weight of my worries have been permanently redistributed. People are what matter. Love matters. Kindness. Experiences. Lightness. Faith.
I am grateful for these lessons. I am grateful for the lightness that filters through my world, now that it is unencumbered by so many insignificant burdens.
In a way, we that have been broken by illness are the lucky ones.
Today was my last day of radiation. I am no longer in active treatment. I have survived the rigorous, terrifying, aggressive lifestyle that is characteristic of this fight. I am a survivor.
I used to hate the term “survivor”. I viewed it as a poor alternative for “cured”. I was resentful of the fact that being cured is something that we can only obtain after years of waiting in fear. Years of hoping that the disease has been eradicated. I now see that survivors make up a small population of people that have traveled through and returned from some circle of hell; forever changed.
I guess this is where faith comes into play. I always wanted to be one of those people that could believe without seeing. Now I must sit back a trust that I will be okay. I must have faith that I have done more than enough. If I follow my heart and pay attention to God’s subtle voice, I will end up right where I’m supposed to be.
Onto the next chapter.