“No evidence of recurrent disease” may soothe the thinking brain, but what cancer patients are feeling cannot be healed with words on a page, but only through comfort and safety for our bodies.
Patients are told not to throw in the towel, don't lose hope, hold out for the miracle, but when we frame cancer survivorship by a relentless battle, we award the wrong priorities. Instead we should celebrate reconciling the plans that we had for our lives with the reality that we may need to adjust our goals. Maybe the miracle is not the life saving treatment breakthrough, but instead, it is the breakthrough of fresh perspective that asks honestly, "How would I like the completion of my life to look?" And not, "What I can possibly do to extend it?"
As you move forward, navigating these uncertain times of public health crisis, you may consider these lessons that I’ve practiced these four years: Align your decisions to your desired quality of life today. Live presently and familiarize yourself with those things that you fear. Consider healing, wellbeing, wholeness, and personal growth that may come through experiencing illness. And extend charity to others while respecting their beliefs.
"When the world is disrupted and you must reorient your life, you can trust that your values, goals, and purpose will carry you through."
Breathless. What time is it? It feels early. Are my contacts in? My left eyelid feels gummy. I reach for my phone. Thud. It knocks the side of the wooden bed frame. Hot breath. Humid. Which child is pressed against my back? I reach and grasp for the wire of the ear buds and grip …