On this day last year I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and it has changed my life, for the better.
The past year has been an interesting one to say the least. I have had some of the most awesome experiences and met the most awesome people this past year, I can promise you, I won’t ever forget the surgeon telling me that I have cancer, I won’t ever forget my husband telling me that no matter what, we will beat this; I won’t ever forget telling our daughter and watching her crumble and then quickly recompose herself; I won’t forget the research I conducted between the surgeon’s diagnosis and the time I initially saw the oncologist and then another week wait for the bone marrow biopsy results. I won’t ever forget the feeling of being sucker punched or the research I did regarding the survival rates and the prognostic factors and how they scared the crap out of me and still do for that matter. It was the longest few weeks of my life, full of anxiety but it also provided so much clarity and answers to so many questions and was peaceful at the same time.
It still sometimes doesn't seem real, the only reality is when it's time for blood tests and scans, the fatigue, or sweats, or when my nodes decide to jump out and let me know their still there. It's odd right, no chemo, no radiation, no treatment. Not having treatment right now was initially hard to comprehend. Knowing that there is a slow growing cancer in my body and having no control over it was hard to accept. I've learned that I can't think that way, and that my mind is the most powerful tool. I can't worry about what I can't control.
This past year has been one of awakening and made me reassess what's important and why it's important. I thought I was living life before, but truly, I was just existing. Yes, I was having fun, yes I was running, biking, climbing mountains, enjoying spending time with my family, but I wasn't fully realizing the beauty and blessings of it all. I have learned to shed the people and things that don't contribute positively to me and my loved ones. Be it relationships, materials things, people, places, doesn't matter, I won't waste my time doing things that don't make me or my family happy and suggest that you don't either. My relationships with people are so much more meaningful than when they were before. I find that I am more deeply involved in my conversations and my activities with others. I love to sit and listen to people and hear their stories. I beg you, don't wait for a cancer diagnosis in order to truly live your life. I have been so very fortunate this past year. Having lymphoma has certainly changed me, but only for the better. I want to experience everything, live each day with my eyes wide open and live with no regrets.
Have you ever....
Been in the middle of a forest and heard the silence of the night?
Tasted a cloud?
Cannon balled out of a perfectly good airplane?
Shared an ice cream kiss with your child?
Watched a butterfly get nectar from a flower?
Witnessed water flow over a stream so elegantly that it doesn't t lose it sheen?
Watched the sun rise and set from the same seated position?
Counted the freckles on the face of a loved one?
Listened to the raindrops falling on the leaves in the woods?
Watched the sunrise at Croom, shining brightly through the beautiful pines?
Run the ridge in a Georgia mountain?
Taken a million pictures during a 10 miles run? :)
Seen the curvature of the earth while floating above it?
Listened to the breath and the beat of your lovers heart all night long?
Laughed until you cried and then laughed some more?
Listened to the muck sucking the shoe off your friend's foot?
Loved someone so much that your heart aches?
Reach someone on such a deep level that it frightens you?
Been on the way to a dream and found a better one?
Snuggled your loved ones from dawn to dusk?
Listen to an animal run through the forest?
Wanted to jump out of a perfectly good airplane and touch the clouds?
Felt the electricity of the earth beneath your feet?
Flown through the sky with the greatest of ease?
Really feel the pine needles under your feet while walking in the forest?
Smell the beautiful aroma of decaying wood?
Listen to the birds awaken each morning?
Fed the homeless?
Put on a pair of running shoes and simply run as far as your heart will take you?
Watch the rays of a full moon shine behind the night clouds?
Listen to the sound of a wooden bat hitting a baseball?
Watch the waves roll over and over again while listening to the beautiful seagulls?
Noticed the the crow that visits your house often has a deformed foot?
Heard the whoosh of the plane door before you jumped?
Watched the sun and moon cast shadows on the beach?
Felt the silky moisture of a cloud on your face?
Run 100 miles?
Do It. Do It All.
Most importantly, are you living your life?