World cancer day
Cancer and I met almost 15 years ago; a youngish mom, 3 young kids.
She (cancer) came back to visit again and again until finally she came to live; she decided my body, my home was also home for her and she decided to take up more space..different ‘rooms.’
Now we live together. I know she wants to fully take over all my living space, but every few months I get confirmation that she is still sleeping in the different rooms she came to stay in 5 years ago. An unwelcome visitor to my home, my family, my body, my mind. Time marches on. The young kids are now young adults and a mom with cancer is all they’ve known.
6 weeks ago cancer came to visit my dad; a bigger, badder relative of mine. It’s been hard. The chemo regimen is rough. I now live with cancer and am caregiver/helper to my dad…and my mom who’s tired both mentally and physically.
Cancer is that unwelcome visitor that wants to stay. It’s rude and inconsiderate of peoples time and feelings. It has a ripple effect beyond the singular person; the reach is wide affecting family and friends.
But why? But also, why not? All of it can be maddening. I get sad then angry then tired, but now playing all the roles of cancer fighter and caregiver, I’m mostly tired.
I used to view hope as the long game , the ‘hope for a better future’ kind of deal, but now I know hope lives very much in the present moments. It’s in the friends that reach out, the ones who leave a small gift on your porch, the nurse that brings that extra cup of ice water, the PA who calls you on a weekend to see how you are, the stranger at the hospital that sees you crying so they sit with you a minute and offer a prayer, and even the dog who puts their face in your lap wanting pets. Yes, hope is present.
Cancer or any long term medical diagnosis puts mortality at the forefront; reminds you that your time on earth is finite so what do you do with your time? It has changed my life. Some of the things I thought were big deals are not so big and actually some of the smaller things, small moments, matter the most. Time is our greatest commodity. The words faith, hope, and love are always thrown around and sometimes flippantly but when you live devastated, hopeful, and grateful simultaneously, those three words are fully alive and pretty much carry you day to day.
This World Cancer Day, be kind, practice love, say a prayer of gratitude for being alive, and hug your loved ones extra ❤️