It is the week of my birthday. A time of reflecting on the past year. It has been a year.
For some of you, many of you, who have been following my journey right into the unfamiliar territory (to me) of cancer; you have cheered me on, held my hand and sent prayers. I cannot tell you in a short blog post everything this journey has offered up, I’ll share pieces here but hope to write a book to really get into it, but what I want to share with you today is something so simple, yet so profound, it has illuminated almost every moment over the last year and it has helped me to understand who I am so much better.
Here it is in a nutshell.
Even though the last few years have on so many levels, forced us to be and live in isolation, we, our beautiful, precious human selves do not exist in isolation. In fact, we cannot. We cannot exist in isolation from each other; and I think, most importantly, from Nature.
Through my journey of healing, these have been two threads that have interwoven and emerged over and over again. Those threads are connection to others and connection to Nature.
I chose to make my cancer diagnosis public in September 2022.
Why? Because I had never experienced anything like it before and I felt that if I shared the process of being in and working through it, perhaps it would help others who, like me, had no idea what cancer offered up. I was also scared. I had no idea what to expect; and sharing it, honestly made the weight of the news lighter.
That decision opened me up to an outpouring of love. It was overwhelming in so many ways. And I believe it has helped me on my healing journey – in ways I may not still know. I was also touched to learn as I continued to share my story both on instagram and in a private Facebook page; that others going through a dark time found inspiration in my words.
As I think back on the year, I marvel at how much my journey mimicked the cycle of the seasons. As the days grew shorter and we moved towards darkness here in the northern hemisphere, I plunged into chemotherapy in October – in a room where I could see the turning leaves falling off the trees – to an emergency surgery in November, to radiation in December – where I slept and slept of fatigue in the dark dark days before the holidays… and then finally after many more ups and downs and hospital stays – I spent 40 nights in a hospital between October 2022 to May 2023; I emerged from the final tumor surgery with the many hued blossoms and the lightening days of Springtime.
I looked and continue to look to the persistence and resilience of all the living, growing things around me, as I continue to get stronger these days.
From the flowers in the gardens that surround our street, to the vines that climb a wall on my way to a favourite hilly park; to the moon tides at the ocean’s shore strewn with seaweed and hermit crabs. There is life everywhere and it wants to live. And when you are ill or not feeling well, remembering the will to live is essential and I could feel it running deep in me.
We are turning back towards the dark seasons… and I am learning that it is important to honour darkness so that we can appreciate our light more fully.
I have so much more I want to share, but wanted to put this out there for now.
Thanks for reading.