Disbelief was overwhelming when I heard the words “you have breast cancer.” Instantly life as I knew it fell away. I no longer knew how to get to my destination, how long it would take, or even where I was going. Family and friends provided the strength, love and guidance for the journey. Difficulties have a way of helping us learn how to navigate unsure footing. Caring people with shared experiences, medical and healing expertise became friends.
Each person’s cancer experience is unique. It was critically important to me that I trusted the doctors and technicians who administered my medical care. I asked questions and was given honest answers about cancer, treatment and outlook. Not everyone seeks this. For me, it developed the trust in my care providers that I needed. Acupuncture, yoga, massage, humor and spiritual direction helped me cope with seeing myself as a person with cancer and dealing with side effects of treatment.
Life beyond treatment called for strength in accepting the new me and finding a new path. I believe that I am a survivor because of my newfound understanding that what I put into my body impacts my health, exercise is crucial to health and managing stress can make the difference between health and disease. My path brought new appreciation for the healing power of self care, deep spiritual growth and love.
I no longer must know the details of my life journey. There have been many more difficulties along the way, but more importantly, many joys. I remind myself that it is the present moment that holds the love that sustains me ~ love for myself, for others and love that I receive. I am grateful to be a survivor.