Today, October 15, 2011, I celebrate two years in remission from my stage four throat cancer. Yes, two years. My life is again full and busy and my energy is back. I taste food again, though perhaps a little less intensely. I've regained 15 of the 30 pounds I lost and I am now at a perfect weight for me. (All things considered, I'd have rather done weight watchers to lose that stubborn 15 pounds). I have a few lingering issues - I am hypothyroid (and on meds for that) and my salivary glands forgot to come back (I drink more water than my lawn). These are small things in the grand scheme of my life.
Here is what I want to say:
Cancer is such a hard journey. I have not the adjectives to describe the emotional, physical and spiritual difficulty of it. It leaves a hole in your body, your life. Rather, I should say, it left a hole in my body, my life. But looking back, I see that God was and is there...and in some mystical way, the ruins and ravages of cancer left more space for Him to fill and inhabit. I didn't always experience that filling in the moment... quite the contrary, in the moment of suffering, I was aware of little else but my pain and self-pity. I was so miserable (and, dare I say, cowardly) in my suffering. Nonetheless, I believe that it happened. I know it. And I believe I am on a journey home. If I am to linger here, I'm blessed. And if He makes a shortcut for me, I am blessed again. I may not always be so joyously positive; I know I was awfully depressed in the darkest days of radiation and chemotherapy... But this is where I am today.
There is much about suffering, there is much about gratitude, there is much about compassion that I have yet to understand, but I am still growing... there are vast oceans of growth yet to cross.
If anyone stumbles here and is on that hard journey, I am honored by your presence. If I can pray, encourage, listen... send me an e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. We are strengthened when we walk together. I am strengthened when I listen. And more than ever, I am learning to listen.