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Today I celebrate two years out from my last chemo treatment, cancer free.
Seven months before that last chemo day my life changed so dramatically it still seems like that person I once was, has died, and I’ve had to remake myself from scratch. My brain broken from emotional trauma , and then chemo that made it all worse, my heart shattered by the husband I loved, my body fed poison to overpower the poison that was growing inside. My life blew up.
An atomic bomb.
I remember the feeling like no other-pure shattering despair. Panic never left my side. I was trapped in a nightmare I couldn’t wake up from. My life as I knew it and loved was gone. I had no choice but to fight. Fight for my marriage and fight for my health while I was the weakest I ever had been.
I did fight and I didn’t do it alone. I did it with the incredible support of my friends (the most awesome friends in the world) and my children and my family. And my faith. I rebuilt myself. I’m still not finished with that rebuilding. I lost the fight for my marriage. I won the fight for my life. And I’m still here. I have a body that is healthy, children that surround me with life, and a mind that is steady -and I get up when grief hits me hard and I know, like really know, who I want to be and how I want to show up in my life.
I’ve had friends tell me I’m the strongest person they know but that’s not true. At all. Sometimes you don’t have a choice to be strong. Sometimes life throws excruciating circumstances your way and many times I pleaded out to the heavens PLEASE STOP! I felt like God was trying to destroy me. I hate that saying “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. I hate it because sometimes it does kill you. And I hate it because it’s true – IF you grasp onto hope and just walk the path before you even when you didn’t choose that path and scary awful things keep jumping out at you just when you think you can’t take one more thing, you will survive. There is no way out but through. One tiny step at a time. Just walk. Crawl. Drag yourself. Keep going.
I know I am not alone. I know many many women have walked this path-I see their footprints and they show me the load gets lighter, the body stronger, the soul more peaceful, and I have to believe them. I see them and believe I will rebuild. I thank them with every ounce of me.
I’ve said it a million times to myself and to others. Many times you don’t get to choose your crosses. The question is “How will you carry them?”