19 Aug Adjust your work schedule. You have breast cancer.
“Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself, and know that everyone in life has purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from.” – Elisabeth Kubler Ross
Are you one of those people who never gets sick? Me too! Or so I thought!! One moment – December 2010 to be precise – I’m enjoying food and beverage lover’s paradise on an ocean front beach with family. Just a few weeks later – January 2011 to be precise – I’m in the emergency room with severe abdominal pain (thinking… please let this be a delayed case of Montezuma’s revenge!), lots of frenzied activity that involves IVs, a CAT scan and eventually a feeding tube. Prelim diagnosis: Idiopathic (translation: doc can’t tell what caused this) pancreatitis with a touch of breast cancer evident on the scan. WHAT?? Rewind that last part please… breast cancer??
Although my pancreas has mysteriously and completely recovered, in hindsight the pancreatitis may have been one of my greatest blessings ever. For today, I am a breast cancer survivor. Yep. Thanks to my pancreas!
The National Cancer Institute defines a cancer survivor this way: “An individual is considered a cancer survivor from the time of diagnosis, throughout the balance of his or her life. Family members, friends and caregivers are also impacted by the survivorship experience and are therefore included.” So basically, you are a survivor until you are dead. I watch others close to me fight or have fallen to cancer’s insidious attack on their bodies, lives and families. You call tell by looking that cancer has had its way with them.
But I don’t look or feel sick. My hair has grown back. Brilliant surgeons reconstructed my physical body arguably to a better state than B.C. (Before Cancer). Cancer has made me Healthier. Stronger. More Aware. I eat better, drink less, sleep more soundly, and faithfully keep my doctor’s appointments. (Very early in my D.C. – during cancer – treatment, I told my oncologist that we would have to fit my chemo appointments into my very busy work calendar – to which he sternly replied, “Adjust your work schedule. You have breast cancer.” I get it now. Cancer has strengthened my spirit and my faith. It’s stripped me of my foolish belief that I had 100% control over my life and its outcomes. Cancer taught me how to accept help and grace from others. I’m in touch with the Spirit within myself. I am at peace.