I’ve been told my positive attitude while going through cancer is unique. While I think most people just don’t know enough cancer survivors, I do have a secret that enables me to keep things in perspective: there is a mystery spot on my lung.
The spot is too close to my heart to risk doing a biopsy, too close to my heart to get a definitive image of what it is. So it remains a mystery and a constant reminder that nothing can be taken for granted. I’m one aggressive lung tumor away from incurable cancer, and living in this uncertainty enables me to live more authentically.
Regardless of your beliefs about what happens after death, there is no denying the preciousness of what we have right now while we breathe. All guarantees of our ability to act on our own behalf are off the table when our breath becomes air. My inability to ignore my mortality drives me to inhale life deeply, to suck the beauty and the meaning from each experience, to ride the intensity of life with both hands in the air.
So in short, my secret is Death. I don’t know when she’ll pull my card from her deck, but I know there are a few extra cards in there with my face on them. This knowledge powers my efforts to live a beautiful life while I still have a choice.
Question: What is the most beautiful, but simple, thing in your life that you would recommend I try or pay more attention to? Thanks in advance for your advice.
PS- Pardon the nip slip.
As I anticipate my next chemotherapy treatment in a couple of days, bringing with it an infusion of poison that will break my body even as it saves my life, I recognize this experience as my hallelujah–my acknowledgment of the sacredness of this journey through the dark valley of cancer. Not because of where it came from, and not because of where it might lead me, but because of where it has placed me in this moment. In the midst of discomfort and fear I find a love that cannot be replicated through triumph, ecstasy, or joyous proclamation. Call it God, call it satori, call it neuronal friction, call it whatever makes sense to you. To me it is the pinnacle of sentient existence and it is what makes this life worth living. ⠀
I continue to be flooded with feelings of gratitude every day. I never could have guessed getting cancer would make me feel so lucky and so privileged. Bring on the poison, my cup is ready to be filled. Hallelujah.
I’m known to blabber on about the importance of connection and community, so I was excited to find out about a place where skills and services can be exchanged without the exchange of money. If you have any amount of any kind of skill to offer then you can find unlimited value in this community. You also get quite a few “credits” just by joining and setting up your account, so check it out. I hope others find it as exciting as I do.
Here we go. Round 1 of about 9 I’ll receive over the next 6 months. My mind raced all night.
It has been fascinating to watch the fragile dance between my mind and the world around me, seeking out the balance between acceptance of my reality and exertion of my will to alter my reality. If I lean too far into acceptance I risk falling into fatalism, apathy, and depression. If I lean too far into exertion of will I risk falling into self-delusion, denial, and anxiety. Somewhere in the middle is a sweet spot where reality is respected, but my will still has power to influence outcomes in my favor. Every day I engage in this dance, some days more gracefully than others.
Today I’m grateful for the people who help me dance with a little more grace. And I’m grateful that this dance has helped me become aware that the whole world is dancing with me. Sometimes we go through things that make our dance a little more visible, but we are all dancing. My hope is that we never let each other dance alone. My hope is that we’ll all be willing to let others see us dance, no matter how devoid of grace we might be, and that we’ll allow others to support us when it feels like we can’t dance anymore. We need each other too much to mind our own business.
Another book in the mail! I haven’t read it yet, but I hope one of the 1000 awesome things is getting surprise books from secret heroes. Thanks, person!
Quick, what’s the number for the Nobel Foundation? I need to nominate Juanique for making me a band to make my ostomy more discreet. Amazing, right? You can’t even tell it’s there!