Seriously- I cannot believe it has already been one year since I heard those words…. “your cancer is gone”.
I still pinch myself because it doesn’t feel real. Real that I had cancer, real that I had chemo, and went through all of that just three months after my sweet Macy took her first breath on the outside of my body.
Maybe I was in denial, or maybe it didn’t hit me until I was finally able to breathe. That first breath was one year ago today. Wow. Time has surely flown by these last 12 months.
I just want to say thank you again to all of you for taking the journey with me. You read my posts and left comments that were like coal in my stove. You kept me going when I wasn’t sure how much farther I could push. Your friendships were what carried me through.
While looking back on the last 18 months, a few lines from different people have stood out in my mind. Yes, it is probably going to be another one of my novel length posts, but I can’t help but reflect on the past year and a half.
First was a phone call from one of my best friends growing up. It was the day after I was told I had cancer. I was lying in the hospital bed in ICU, drifting in and out of a morphine induced coma when someone reached me my phone. The name showed Krissie Kiser. I answered, exhausted, but feeling up to hearing her cheerful voice. Krissie could always make me laugh, but this time she couldn’t hide her tears- even over the phone. She sat in silence while trying to get her words out and I told her I was fine and I would be ok. She finally said, “you are the last person out of all of us that I would imagine getting this. You have always been the strongest one”.
We talked for a while longer and we hung up with her laughing that she called to comfort me, but I was the one who ended up comforting her.
I thought about those words for the next several days. I guess no one thinks they will be the one who gets diagnosed, I certainly didn’t. Then, it hit me. What Krissie said to me- it all made sense. Of course it was me, it had to be…. it needed to be, because I was tough. And I still am. God doesn’t give us more than we can handle and He chose me for the very reason that Krissie said…. because I was the strongest one.
Another moment I still think about was actually something that came out of my own mouth. It came from deep down inside, and it may shed light on why losing your hair due to cancer is so hard.
My friend who does my hair here came to the house to cut my Uber-long mane so I could have it made into a wig before it all fell out. I had been looking on Pinterest for days, trying to prepare myself for the short bin that was to come. The pictures were cute, but I just dreaded it more than I can explain. We set a makeshift salon up in our living room with a tarp on the floor. My friends came and tried to keep the air light, but it was more than even they could handle. Then, my hair was put in low pony tails and she asked me if I was ready. I was never ready for that, or cancer but I think I nodded my head before I heard the first sheer saw through my thick pony. I immediately started sobbing uncontrollably, and the answer came out. Up through my gut and out of my mouth Rose the words, “it just feels like cancer is already winning”. Finally, it made sense why I dreaded this hair cut so much. Because it wasn’t my choice.
Lastly, so I don’t bore you to death was a comment from someone, and I honestly cant remember who. Whoever it was called me a “wise old owl” in one of my Facebook comments. I laughed and thought it was cute because even though I am not a little teeny bopper anymore, I love owls as much as any 13 year old… haha!
I rolled that around and agreed with it in my head. The way I saw the world after cancer was so incredibly different than before. Why was this I wondered? And what did I have in common with the wise old owls that I grew up around. The answer was obvious: It’s not until your time is coming to an end that you see the world for what it truly is. Thankfully, my time wasn’t coming to an end, but cancer patients never feel like they are out of the woods.
Cancer is an ugly beast, but sometimes it comes with a beautiful gift. As well as it should!
I am 34 years old and yes, I do feel like a wise old owl, but that is a gift that I was given from enduring this disease. Most people don’t get that clarity until they are older, but I have been blessed enough to receive it early.
It’s not something I can teach or explain, but it truly has been like wearing rose colored glasses for over a year now.
Life is a blessing. Every single day is a gift, but no one expects that gift to be taken away until they are facing death.
With all of that said, my wise old owl crack for today is this: live your life as if you are 103. Laugh hard, live right, and love like it’s your last seconds here on Earth. Don’t complain, and see the beauty in everything. Love everyone as if they were your mother and pay someone a compliment every day. Stop and smell the flowers and for Heavens sake- put down the electronics. You cannot get those moments back. You need to bless others in order to be blessed. And my final wish is that everyone would just live by the golden rule. That is truly worth more than any riches on Earth.
God. Less y’all! Have a fabulous day!!!!