Today marks 10 years since my cancer diagnosis.
A lot of life happens in 10 years. LOTS of good, a fair share of bad…and as I sit back and reflect on it, I’m just so grateful for every bit of it.
I spent the first 6 years after being diagnosed worrying so much. I was clutching so hard to just wanting to live. Every little ache or pain would send me down the trail of panic and what ifs.
I had the biggest recurrence scare in 2018. It was a huge wake up call for me. A call for me to stop living in a state of waiting for the other shoe to fall. To stop letting the ups and downs of life affect me so much. A call to make changes so when the day comes that I leave – whether that is tomorrow or in 50 years – I will be proud of myself for having embraced and appreciated the life that God put in front of me.
“Take me deeper than my feet would ever wander, and my faith will be made stronger.” – Hillsong United
When you think you are going to die, you realize how, in that moment, you would take ALL the stressful life moments just to stay on this side of Heaven. You would take that stressful work issue, relationship, parenting moment, etc. with gratitude, just to stay here. Being a member of the cancer club means that I have met several people who haven’t gotten the amount of bonus years I have gotten. And so every time I start to let anxiety or stress get the better of me, I remind myself that those people would have traded places with me in a heartbeat – no matter how hard things feel in that moment.
I consider that perspective a gift. It has helped me spend the last 4 years asking myself what I need to do to feel at peace with who I am. It has made me ask myself what a life well lived looks like. It has made me a better person.
Ten years after that terrible diagnosis, I know what is important to me. I work hard to keep those things front and center.
My faith has grown, and I have grown immensely in learning how to release control and trust. I’m better at riding the waves that life hands me, and work hard to not be too tied to the outcome of any of it because in the end, it will all work out and it will all be good. I’m not perfect at it, but I’m getting better and better with every challenge that is put in front of me.
“You let me be where I’ve been so I can be all that I am. Better for it.” – Riley Clemmons
And this growth has allowed me to see the challenges in front of me as an opportunity to become a stronger, braver, more compassionate person.
So at 10 years, I remain completely grateful. Grateful for what I’ve learned, how it has shaped me…and even more grateful that I was surrounded by so many people who have loved us through all of it. From childcare to meal trains to celebrations of milestones to prayers to just being present.
If you are one of the people who supported us in anyway during that time, please know that I am forever grateful, forever changed and constantly working on how I can pay it forward.
And to my husband – thank you for being my biggest and best cheerleader, supporter, nurse, partner and best friend through all of this turmoil and growth. I’m the luckiest that God chose you for me.