[I have learned over the last few months that there are much worse things than death. And no, chemo isn’t one of them. Losing your fire is at the top of the list. I feel more fire inside me than I have for the last 10 years.] November 18, 2015
The cards I’ve received over the last 8 months have been my favorite thing. The bowl I’ve been throwing them in has been OVERFLOWING for some time now. I am trying to think of something creative to do with them so I can keep enjoying them. There are some cards from people I would have never expected – a college roommate, a friend of my husband, an old coworker, a friend’s parents. Then there are some people who surprised me with their continual stream of cards and constant encouragement.
This postcard came from a friend who is no stranger to hard times. It has been people like her who are familiar with struggle and live through less than ideal situations who have brought me the most insight and comfort. They are the ones who seem to be the most appreciative of what life has to offer.
I grew up in an ideal setting – a safe suburban neighborhood, a diverse middle-class community, a stable loving home, enough smarts to get by easily, everything provided for me. None of that, however, prepared me for my dad’s cancer diagnosis right after I graduated from college. I can remember the surgeon coming to talk to me and my mom in the waiting room. I can remember him telling us that my dad’s insides were black with cancer. It’s like the solid ground of my upbringing instantly crumbled beneath me. We were lucky in many ways to have 8 1/2 years with him after this discovery. Through countless ups and downs, he endured. WE ENDURED. But I was never the same.
My dad died on February 16, 2006 and there was a brief period of relief because the cancer had died as well. But the anxiety and fear of losing my dad had become so engrained in me over the years that I couldn’t shake them. They had put out my fire. I’m not talking about my carefree innocence because I believe that is just a part of growing up. I mean my FIRE.
Who would’ve thought that another cancer diagnosis 10 years later would’ve lit that long forgotten fire within me? My own diagnosis! I’ve thought about it constantly and I don’t have all of the answers, but I think this time I chose to take control. It is often easier to be the sick one than to be close to the sick one. I questioned my own mortality for the first time. I worked through the hard times instead of ignoring them. I also chose early on to share my struggles and that allowed my friends to share their stories with me. The strengthening of those friendships is visible in that pile of cards.
My bowl runneth over.
What a terrific metaphor for my heart.
#lessfearmorefire #takethetitsleavetheheart #cancerdoesntalwayssuck #friendlyremindersfromgoodfriends #letsburnthismotherfuckerdown