After having cancer, I started noticing types of recurrence in my life. Some recurrences are comfortable, while others are not. Some of those are fear, anxiety, grief, anger, frustration, guilt, disappointment, joy, hope, courage, fun, friendships, kindness, and laughter.
My biggest fear of recurrence is cancer. I can’t decide what to do with that fear. I have wondered if it will come back, when it will come back, and how to stay optimistic when I know others who are experiencing it for the second, third and, sadly, last time. I know it only takes a single cell to make it spread. One little cell that is stronger than any previous treatment. That cell has the ability to take your life hostage all over again. I HAVE SEEN IT HAPPEN! It can fuel a disease that will spread in your body.
I’ve had a shift in my focus. It isn’t just cancer that spreads. All of the things I listed above have the ability to go viral. My fear, anger, depression and anxiety can take me hostage as well. If permitted, these can cause just as much damage to my wellness. I will have more physical pain, my nutrition and exercise will be impacted, I will put less effort into my social life, and my energy will be drained. Now I know it is not just a single cell that has this huge impact. It can be a single emotion, act, or life event.
Guess what else spreads and goes viral?? Love, friendship, hope, kindness, laughter, courage, and fun! If I hadn’t have had cancer, I would have missed out on so many of the positive experiences in my life. I have met so many new, lifelong friends in all of this. I have gone on adventures, tried new things, and increased my wellness in a way I never thought possible. I am well and SO alive and experiencing all of the parts of life that are both comfortable and uncomfortable.
In my support group, the leader once said that it is vital to understand the expression, “This too shall pass”. This expression is most often used to comfort those in times of discomfort. But what about the times of happiness, excitement, and comfort? Unfortunately, this too shall pass. Life is change. Experiences within that change develop our character, values, and the ways in which we face adversity. Change is constant. It is what causes recurrence, comfort, discomfort, and viral activity. Fear and misunderstanding of that change removes the opportunity for development. It paralyzes us and makes things stagnant.
These concepts are big, exciting, and scary for me. Life will keep happening and changing. I have decided to move with it. What comes next is somewhat unpredictable. I must choose to experience the comfort and discomfort for this to work. Hopefully, the discomfort will recur less. I have to be ready for it and bring the strengths and values I have developed along the way. I invite you to join me in this choice.