Today marks 6 years since I was diagnosed with cancer. It was the most surreal moment to be told the news. I’ve been racking my brain to remember how my surgeon phrased it when she told me, but I must have pushed it out of my mind. Probably because the minute she told me, all I could feel was what felt like a vice clamping down on my heart. We left the office in a daze and I began making phone calls to let loved ones know.
I spent the next several hours consoling people. Assuring them that I was going to be fine. Reminding them how much I had already survived in my life and how good at surviving I am.
And after a couple grueling weeks of oncologist appointment after appointment and off the charts anxiety and fear about what I was up against, I was told I didn’t need chemo/radiation after all. I was told my treatment would be surveillance to monitor if any cancer had spread.
After 3 years of surveillance, I was officially cancer free.
I got off easy. I tell people I had ‘cancer light’. But the cancer diagnosis was literally the beginning of my entire life (up to that point) unraveling. Actually, that’s not quite true. It was the point when I acknowledged my life had been unraveling. It was the moment when I admitted to myself just how unhappy I was…because I was so unhappy with myself. Until then, I had been ignoring those feelings. I had been stuffing them down and pretending I was totally fine. The Universe sends you invitations to become yourself and the more you dismiss those invitations, the more chaotic your life becomes. I had all this chaos happening around me asking me to acknowledge my true self, but I am nothing if not stubborn. It took cancer to get through to me. Until then, I thought I was in control of everything. Cancer said otherwise and I couldn’t run from how I truly felt about my life and myself one second longer. It was a huge wake-up call. It was a literal kick in the ass. (I had colorectal cancer). I had no choice but to submit.
Looking back now, I can say with 100% certainty, that diagnosis was one of the best things to ever happen to me. It stripped away all the bullshit and made me realize that this was MY life. No one else’s. And if I wasn’t happy with it, well then, I had no one to blame but myself if I didn’t do something about it. Cancer gave me permission to do what I needed to do for myself. And holy shit, the past 6 years have been all about working to create the life I want. That’s nearly impossible to do when you’ve don’t have a clue about who you are. This was my awakening. The past 6 years have been about learning who I am, at my core, before all the bullshit stories I made up to fill in the gaps and the conditioning I learned from people who didn’t know what the hell they were doing either. It’s been exhausting and painful and brutal and exhilarating and I have had 1,000 lifetimes in the past 6 years. I’m not who I was 6 years ago. One year ago. Hell, 6 months ago. I don’t look like her. I don’t move like her. I don’t feel like her.
Cancer was the thing that began my transition from SURVIVING my life to truly LIVING my life and for that I will always be grateful.
It’s not perfect by any means. I’m not perfect. I’ve made huge mistakes and hurt people. Likely, I will again. I’ve lost people along the way. I’ve realized how fucked up I was/am. I’ve realized that my brokenness is a gift and I’m perfectly imperfect and worthy as is and always have been. I’ve realized how all of it, my shadow side and my light side make me who I am and the trials I have been through were the gifts I needed to bring me back to being whole. This is what I have given to work with and it is enough. I’ve realized we are all fucked up and everyone is doing the best they can and that’s okay because they are on their own path. I’ve realized how important it is to face your demons head on because THAT is the only way you can begin to heal. I’ve learned that while I may not be the cause of all the pain in my heart, I am responsible to heal it regardless. I’ve laid down old, worn out coping mechanisms that kept me stuck and unearthed others that I’ve had to work to shed as well. I’ve grown self-esteem, self-confidence, self-acceptance and self-love. Mostly. I grant myself grace, at least more than I used to. I walk (sometimes stumble) in faith. I get quiet and listen for my intuition which was used to be so fucking difficult to do. I’ve learned how to believe in abundance and how everything is happening FOR me all the time. I instill boundaries and then other times I don’t, and I’m still figuring that out too. I trust myself to figure out whatever happens. I grow and evolve and pivot and change.
And that shit is HARD. They don’t call them ‘growing pains’ for nothing. But I would never live any other way ever again. It’s brought me here. I have no idea what the rest of my life will look like but I don’t need to know now. I trust the process and I’m so excited to see it all unfold. I’m proof that it’s possible to change your mindset, your outlook and ultimately, your life.
Thank you for all the love and support I received along the way. Honestly, I have people in my life who have been my heart’s keepers. Some have been there for a short time and some are still walking beside me, reminding who they see when they look at me. People who have met me exactly where I was and am and love me and hold space for me every step along the way. I was given everything I needed to do this work coming home to myself. That’s the other thing the Universe does for you. It gives you all the tools to become your own healer. And I am my own healer.
Sending you the love and light and courage and grace to become who you are and heal yourself, eternally. xo