The Worst That Can Happen Can Lead to Your Best. A story about surviving cancer.
Just last week, a good friend of mine received word that she’d been diagnosed with advanced Breast Cancer. I’ve since spent a good deal of time with her on the phone, doing all I can to “counsel” her; to practice empathy, sympathy and the like, but mostly, to do my best to get inside her head to let her know, as bad as it can get, as nightmarish, that hope is NEVER lost. Because it isn’t.
I wouldn’t dare be self-aggrandizing enough to say that I’ve experienced the worst life has to offer. There is ALWAYS deeper, darker, more painful.
But I’ve experienced some real depths in my lifetime, probably none more hellish than having had stage 4 cancer, that spread to both lungs. Four major surgeries, the vast majority of three years spent in various hospitals, hooked up on IV’s that spewed poisonous chemicals through my veins and into my body; attacking the cancerous cells but not discerning enough to spare those that protected my hair, my stomach, and promoted health to various other systems and organs. I lived for 3 years in a near dream state, punctuated by the waking nightmare of withering away to 85 pounds, sprouting sores inside my mouth that made it impossible to eat (as if I had any appetite anyways after vomiting on average over 20 times a day), and other symptoms so vile, so painful, that it makes me wonder if I were repaying a debt for deeds done in a past lifetime.
It got worse. And ultimately, I got better. I look back on it now and as crazy as it may sound, I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. It brought me to children’s hospitals, where I was able to share my experience –and my tale of recovery—to other “terminal” patients and their families. It’s brought me strength, it’s brought me purpose, and it’s brought to me, I hope, the ability to inspire others.
To those of you experiencing hard, hard times in your life, and to my friend, if you are reading this, know the following… You are strong; find your strength through this ordeal, and you will emerge with a strength greater than you ever imagines. You are loved. Understand that things happen for a reason, and that when you emerge, healthy, you will love more deeply than you every thought possible.
This is YOUR time!
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