Since COVID is the closest thing I’ve experienced to a cancer diagnosis and the reality that followed, I thought I’d share some of my Truths. In hopes that they help calm, affirm, whatever.
Here’s what I know about cancer:
-That I had no choice. I couldn’t go over, I couldn’t go under it, I needed to go through it.
-That it hurt.
-That it stirred in me a sacred perspective which allows me to know pain and glory deeply, fully, truly.
-That the surgeons’ carvings left deep holes. Holes that invited my understanding. And when your depths become known, so too do your heights. Cancer allowed me to know just how low, and just how high I could go.
-That we cannot do it alone. Never alone.
-That “normal” will never return. A quick glance at the mirror or the selfie mode on my iPhone reminds me of that—so many scars. When I inhale, still, it burns slightly—chemo killed little bits of lung. The new normal felt scary at first, and it made me angry, but once I nestled in the breathing didn’t hurt so badly.
-That I was scared constantly. And peaceful constantly. In the same breath.
-That there was a date, dates, markers, that would forever require honoring.
-That there were moments I had crumbled into such unrecognizable pieces I was sure it was all over; and death sounded like the sweetest relief.
-That I learned about my community and what they were (and were not) capable of.
-That I learned how to eat a little more lovingly.
-That doctors are rarely healers, they handle triage mostly. They slice and stitch and read and diagnose and review and think hard — and we love and need them for that. But they are not in the business of Healing. Healing is facilitated by those who know their own depths and heights, and want that same understanding for everyone else. So they create lots of space for the digging and soaring of others.
-That even though the stitches have been removed and the bruise is faded, a human can still bleed and weep and rage and laugh and skip and build and parent and kiss and harvest and abandon in pain. All of it, still in pain. A life, pained.
-That even though the stitches have been removed and the bruise is faded, a human can still bleed and weep and rage and laugh and skip and build and parent and kiss and harvest and abandon with joy. All of it, smiling. A life, infused with joy.
-That nothing will feel safer and real-er than Mama Earth.
-That nurses will forever captivate me with their natures.
-That the kids will be okay. That you can still love a child and be dying. And that child may have some wonky ways, but as long as you let them dig and soar they’ll be alright.
-That there is a current swirling around and we get to choose how we engage with it. We can fight it and control it and harness it or we can swirl around and make choices that people think are “bad” or “unwise” or “crazy.” But we know that actually it’s just that wild and holy current (I call it God) pulling us toward our bigger, truer selves.
-That the American healthcare system does not care about our health.
-That going into debt to get healed by the real Healers felt like the dumbest hardest thing, but it all turned out okay and I would do it again in a second because now I get to wrestle with my kids in parks on weekends.
-That the weeds will get pulled someday.
-That hydration and skilled, compassionate massage/bodywork will save us.
-That pain meds actually cause more pain than they relieve.
-That every single flower I pass deserves to be noticed. Until the end of time.
We all essentially received a cancer diagnosis in mid March. Whatever you’re feeling is normal and good and fine and hard. I am here, you are not alone. You are here, you are not alone. Inhale. Exhale.