March is a difficult month for me. I am so glad it’s finally at its end. A new beginning comes on April 1st or perhaps I am just fooling myself. March is generally a month one thinks of springtime and renewal, but for me it brings back memories that have shaped my life in a way I never thought possible. I’ve been wondering how I can change this, let go of the past to embrace a future and what it might hold. I need to stop living in fear, scared of my own shadow and waiting for this nightmare to end. I’ve spent an entire month questioning myself and why I am still here. I’ve been thinking of all the wrong things and distancing myself in the hope that it would hurt less to say good bye. I’ve been sad and lost and angry all at the same time. Cried buckets of tears and finally decided it’s time to let go of the hurt and move on. I’ve wasted enough time on the past so writing this blog is cathartic. I can leave some things here and start living again. And just maybe I’ll be able to help someone else find their way through to a new beginning.
It started with a word… six years and 25 days ago today. I hadn’t been feeling well for quite a few months back then but I didn’t expect that I should. I had lost my baby in a car accident and was still adrift in the grief of his passing. So, I didn’t think much of not feeling up to par. I had blood work drawn a few days before and showed up for my appointment going through the motions as I was doing with everything at the time. Every little thing seemed to be an effort but that just seemed how life was. I found a seat in the waiting room and waited looking at an old magazine from the stack on the table, not really paying attention to anything. A few minutes later my name was called and I went back, got weighed and measured, had my vitals taken and waited again. Within minutes, my doctor came in the room carrying my chart and another book along with papers I noticed to be hospital orders. He sat down, looked at me and then started to speak. I don’t remember exactly what he said that day, I only heard one word… Cancer. If you want to get someone’s attention, that word will do it every time. It strikes fear in your heart, leaving no room for anything else. Everything else he was saying became noise, and then I neatly fell off the chair in a dead faint. Looking back, that was probably the smartest thing I could have done at the time. It put an end to the words I wasn’t understanding. I woke up wondering if it was a nightmare, but one look at the concerned faces of the doctor and his nurses told me it wasn’t.
And so my journey began. There are so many odd and quirky details I remember from that day but none of them really matter now. The official diagnosis of Leukemia came ten days later on the 16th of March in 2008. By that time I felt like a pin cushion, was scared out of my wits and often wonder how I made it through a day let alone six years now. I have survived months and years of chemotherapy and testing, feeling like a guinea pig for the most part. I’ve had good days and bad days and some really awful days in long stretches! I’ve lost my hair a few times, had multiple procedures because of other complications. However, by the grace of God and a wonderful team of physicians I am still here! And through my misery this past month I have come to these conclusions.
Cancer has given me the opportunity to grow as a person. It’s allowed me to love more and taught me to be grateful for all of the little things we so often take for granted in life. I have grown as a person, in more ways than I can count. It allows me to understand the true meaning of compassion through the many friends I have lost along the way. To love with all of my heart the friends and family who are with me through this battle. And it has given me the strength to fight for life, set goals and most importantly to live. Cancer is all of these things and so much more… I know that now. And sometimes, well Cancer just sucks. That’s okay too. Most of the time my glass is full, I’m not ready to give up and fantasy land is just the place I want to be. I believe I’ll make it through this, I know I will! And for those days, or weeks and sometimes a month I have music and people who love me for me regardless of what I might have. I am lucky, for I have been given a gift and I am grateful for it.
So I’ll leave you now with two songs. One I’ve been listening to over and over this past month. It’s called “Keep Your Head Up” by Ben Howard. Someone brought it to my attention last summer, I think of it now as a gift I’ve been given. It’s a reminder to do just that when the days being particularly unkind.
Keep Your Head Up – Ben Howard
The second song is called “A New Breeze” by Marble Sounds. It says everything I am looking forward to in the future. Give them a listen, I hope you’ll find them a way to get over the troubled bits that life often throws our way.
A New Breeze – Marble Sounds
I thank you for taking the time to read this blog allowing me to share a part of my story. It’s not over yet, I’m still here! And as always, “It started with a song, in this case two… and ended with a smile!”
To find out more about Ben Howard and his music, please check the following sites:
More info on Marble Sounds and their music, look here: