September 26, 2017

The tsunami of cancer

The amazing force of cancer cannot drown my spirit.

The amazing force of cancer cannot drown my spirit.

I think God wanted me to watch Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday episode. I have the series taped on my DVR and I saw that Nate Burkus was the guest. “Why is she talking about interior design on this show?” I thought.  I selected it, trying to delete it and inadvertently pressed play instead. They were talking about how he survived the tsunami in 2004, but lost his partner in it. I recently saw The Impossible about it, so I was intrigued.

So many things he said resonated with me. He talked about when the worse thing happens, you release fears you had before and get things done. He talked about moving on and living life to the fullest instead of staying in grief about the past. And he says his experience was a gift that has changed who he is and how he lives his life. He realizes that people are the most important part of his life. I think Nate is beautiful inside and out and I saw the light shining from his gorgeous eyes as he spoke. (Yes, I think I have a new celebrity crush! :))

For me, cancer has been my tsunami. Like Nate, I have lost people I loved to this disaster, but it has made me a different person. I have done so many things and have connected with so many people … I wouldn’t have done this before. I realize the sacredness of life and how each individual is a precious being.

I’m noticing an interesting dichotomy since I returned from the C4YW in Seattle. (For a full update, visit my blog HERE). I’m facing  the prospect of death while living the hell out of life.

I went to a breakout session about getting your affairs in order. I usually avoid such topics like the plague, but I knew Molly MacDonald and another woman at our Friday night dinner was attending. It inspired me to face, in a dispassionate way, my fear of death. I think I’ve had some magical thinking going on, that if I focus on it, it will come. You know, kind of like “If you build it, they will come.” But the session helped me realize that planning for the inevitable (we’re all going to die, after all) is a gift to your loved ones.

So Mike and I are meeting with a lawyer this evening to revise our will and living will, which we originally did before cancer reared its ugly head again. This weekend, we’re meeting with a friend of his who owns a funeral home so we can preplan our burials and memorial services. The funny thing is, I really like to plan parties. So I’d like my service to be like one. What’s interesting to me is that I feel relieved to do this and get it out of the way so I can focus on living.

And I’m certainly living life to the fullest! In addition to the great trip to Seattle (a destination I’ve always wanted to visit), my family is planning a trip to Puerto Rico to celebrate my 5oth birthday! According to some statistics that I don’t believe in, I had a slim chance of reaching 50. Well screw statistics, we’re heading for paradise! I’m even taking an online course to learn a little Spanish, although chemobrain and age are making it a difficult task. I Skyped with a young man from Buenos Aires last weekend who was helping me learn some basics. That was an adventure in itself!

There’s no doubt about it, cancer is a disaster. It has swept away too many people, and has forced me to face my mortality at a young age. But I don’t have to drown in it. I can enjoy moments of calm and beauty and ride some gentle waves instead of always bracing myself for the next storm.

 

Comments

  1. I was very touched by your blog. The revelations that you have discovered from listening, looking, sharing and moving forward in your life’s adventure. No said it would be a picnic and no one told us that it would always be pretty. My eldest daughter lost her fight with colon cancer in July 09 at the tender age of 42. I was her nurse from 07 to 09 and I don’t regret one minute of putting my life on hold to care for my child. I’m inspired by people like you who are being blessed to find the courage to “live” while your body is fighting within itself to stay alive. I pray for you and everyone that is waking up each and everyday with some type of illness that causes them to doubt why they are here in the first place. If I may say this – you have and are a blessing to many many people around you. Your thoughts, unselfish deeds and even your pursuit of living life to its fullest will inspire and bring joy, peace and courage to those that read your blogs and meet you on your daily adventure. Tomorrow is like “a box of chocolates” you never know what the day will hold for you until you wake up get your day started and meet whatever events awaits you. May you continue to live a long and adventurous life.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words and so sorry for the loss of your daughter! It means the world to me to hear that my sharing helps others. Love and healing to you and yours.

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