Never ignore a person who loves you, cares for you, and misses you. Because one day you might wake up from your sleep and realize that you lost the moon while counting the stars.~Unknown

Friday, May 27, 2011

Now that the worst of chemo is over, my thoughts have turned to 'living' again.  Mostly, I find my mind wandering back to what life was like before I was diagnosed and what it meant to be diagnosed with cancer.

Prior to my diagnosis, I was in a dark place.  Life had taken its toll on me and without realizing it, I had let hope for a brighter future slip from my grasp.  My heart was slowly giving up and letting the light of hope dim.  I was able to hide it from others but my family knew it and felt helpless to help me. I had held fast to hope as it pertained to others but at the end of the day, I would slip into the numbness of hopelessness for change to ever occur in my own life.  A devastating divorce six years prior had cast a spell of disillusionment around my heart. The initial years of loneliness had caused me to pray for the silence of the need for love.  Professionally, disappointment and false starts had earmarked all my efforts to succeed.  Some of my children continued to struggle with poor choices as they ran from the heartaches in their own life.  The others were bearing the heartache from their own disappointments and heartaches. My prayers often echoed the words from one of my favorite songs as I questioned how heaven could remain silent when I was out of words. 

I had found the lump in my breast late summer.  From the moment I found it, I knew I had cancer.  I remember laying in bed that night saying my prayers with a sense of bitterness as memories of the battles I had fought most of my adult life flooded my thoughts. I cried thinking that my life would end without the promised blessings of love, success, and happiness becoming a reality.  I didn't have health insurance which in my mind, meant that I would never recover financially.  Without even thinking about it, the lump became the private fear that completed my plunge into hopelessness.  It wasn't until December that I found the courage to begin the process of validating my initial awareness that I had cancer. My physician, Dr. Tom Matthews, is a personal friend and spiritual leader who has been with me as I have experienced some of the greatest disappointments and heartaches of my life.  With tears in his eyes, he told me I had cancer.  With tears in my eyes I looked at him and all I could say was a broken "Wow...I just can't get a break can I?"  I will never forget the compassion in his eyes as he shared my sorrow. Katie was with me and neither one of us knew what to say as we walked to our cars. I sat in my car as Katie drove away, not knowing what to feel.   Slowly, tears slipped from the broken places in my heart as I allowed them to escape down my face.  As I sat there, I heard a voice as clear as if someone was sitting there with me say.."Cyndi, you did not get cancer to die, you got cancer to live."  I can honestly say that in that very moment, fear left the equation my diagnosis had established and my heart felt light.  And I can add to that honesty that it has not returned.  I've cried tears of fatigue, discomfort...and tears of joy but hope has burned bright.  I credit that to a Heavenly Father who loves me and surrounded me with spiritual and temporal angels.  I humbly acknowledge that the goodness of others have held me up when I wanted to fall and sustained me when I doubted my ability to continue in the process.  Truly, I have been surrounded by the goodness of family, friends, and strangers who kindly kept the light of hope glowing.  On the times when it was merely a flicker, there was always someone there to gently blow on that flicker until the glow was renewed.  As a result, in the midst of these past difficult months, I was able to emerge from the darkness that had previously taunted me.  For that I am eternally grateful.

I've learned that fear is the beginning of hopelessness.  Fear of failure, fear of loss, fear of life, fear of love, fear of success and countless other fears that life exudes, are all the catalyst to an absence of the hope we need to secure our hearts desires.  On the eve of my last chemo treatment, fear taunted me with the possibility of being susceptible to a recurrence of cancer without the treatments.  And I cried...tears of uncertainty for what my future might bring.  I realized that in the presence of fear, I had no faith to maintain the hope that had sustained me during the long winter months.  I made a personal commitment that I was not going to live my life in fear.  Most likely, I will one day die from cancer.  In the meantime, be it a year or thirty years, I choose to live.  I realized that if I am entertaining fear, I can't live with hope.  I can only exist.  And I have wonderful children and grandchildren who adore me, friends who love me, and family who sustain me.  And I never want to go back to the darkness that was consuming me.  I believe in that quiet voice that spoke above my tears and the fear associated with my diagnosis.  I believe in the source from which that message came and in the love that accompanied it.  I trust in those comforting words...

"Cyndi, you did not get cancer to die, you got cancer to live."

Gratitude and love always...


On Tuesday, I will have surgery to remove the port through which my treatments were delivered.  It has been painful and appears to have embedded into the vein.  I look forward to the removal.  I will also begin radiation that day which I will have daily for the next 8 weeks.  Onward and upward!

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