Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Bringing Tidings 4 - Joy -

Life is beautiful, even in the pain there is beauty –

I have spoken with many survivors of various types of cancer. A theme that is consistent no matter what stage or course of treatment they had, is post-treatment phase of recovery, or "finding the new normal." There is good reason this phrase is repeated so often by us, and frankly by anyone who has endured a trauma or loss. While our loved ones might want to see us recover and resume our lives as close to how they were before as possible (for good and loving reasons), the truth may be that parts of us will simply never be the same.

Finding the new normal is often job number one following a treatment. I know how hard it can be to reassemble the pieces of a life following a long and exhausting treatment. While the good news for many of us is survival, there are new concerns and challenges (lymphedema, prosthesis, surgeries, neuropathy, and constipation). And just as unique as these are to each of us, so too will be the way in which (and depth to which) cancer touches our lives. But one thing is for sure, it touches something, and getting to the new normal takes time, patience, effort, and a good bit of help.

Life used to have one shape, now it has another. I used to do, think, feel one way, and now those things either don't work or no longer feel right. But the new perimeters do not reveal themselves like a runway in the dark, all lit up, and they can't be found with the ease of a Google search. No, the process of recovery, and rediscovery, is one of patience, honest assessment, acceptance and a lot of self-care (and self-love).

Still, there are days when I am sad. I cry. I hurt. I ache for me, for the innocent Ronda who was about to undergo a life-change she could not comprehend. Cancer is a bitch - and that day, and with the days that followed I lost any remaining innocence I may have had. I'm still in shock - I want to apologize to the 20 pound lighter, 53 year old Ronda, with natural blonde hair, for all she went through. I want to hold her in my arms, hug her, cuddle her, let her know she is loved. 

The result of our cancer is a new shape. If this happens at a slow enough pace, it is not overly stressful. You take it in one move at a time. And in that pain, and because of that pain, the joy - oh boy, the joy is immeasurable. Believe me. 

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