They’re not kidding when they say time flies… it really does. And time flies faster the older you get.
It’s two years to the day since I had my double mastectomy. Once again, life has changed in ways I never expected. It’s beautiful, frustrating and surprising all molded into one emotion I can’t quite put my finger on.
Beautiful because life continues to teach me that setbacks can be blessings in disguise.
Frustrating because I continue to be challenged every day by my health and the struggle to understand what’s next, what my purpose is, and if I’ll ever really feel healed, even if the current paperwork says I am.
Surprising because sometimes people come into your life and flip it upside down in wonderful ways that remind you, what’s on paper is only a tiny fraction of the story.
Over the last 19 years, I’ve listened to doctors tell me, “this is it Mary, after this, you’ll be in the clear… you’ll be cured.”
There has clearly always been a twist to that.
Today I am cancer-free, but the fine print says, you’ll take medicine for the rest of your life to stay that way. Seems simple enough… until you realize that medicine is not only impacting you physically, but also chemically, mentally and emotionally.
I’ve always said the mind is a powerful tool… I’m now left wondering, what do you do when you turn that kind of power over to medicine?
The only thing you can do… have faith. Trust the process. Believe the struggle is leading you somewhere better. Pray the better part comes sooner rather than later.
I discussed in my last post the challenges I’ve had with clinical depression for most of this year. I’m grateful that I was aware enough to realize it and attempt to treat it. I’m learning that depression can be as hard to treat as curing cancer.
When I think back to last year, it feels like a lifetime ago… I was in excellent physical shape and I wrote a beautiful blog post to commemorate how far I’d come since my surgery. I spent more than a month writing, editing and planning that post.
This morning I woke up and didn’t even remember this anniversary until Facebook reminded me of all of the wonderful messages family, friends and even strangers had sent me.
Maybe that’s a good thing… but then why does it feel so bad?
It brings me to the question that constantly remains unanswered… is it better to preserve your body or your mind? How do you choose?
I miss the energy, ambition and creativity I had before Tamoxifen took over. I miss the passion I had to write and to educate and to better myself.
These days I pat myself on the back if I take a shower and leave the house.
I’ve lost my spark… I’ve lost my inspiration.
But as I always do, I try to find the good in the situation life has put me in. I listen to my heart, and my gut, which will always be more powerful than my mind. I trust my instincts to make decisions, rather than go with the popular vote. I remember to count my blessings every day… I’m still here. I’m still breathing. I’ve still got potential.
When I feel lost I’ve always brought myself to the water. I love the sound it makes and the ripples that form. I take my shoes off and lay in the grass, walk on the rocks and bury my feet in the sand. And I try to remember, the tide goes in and the tide goes out, just like the challenges life brings. Sometimes the water rushes fast and you hit a waterfall. Sometimes the fall is steep, but when you hit the bottom, you’re coasting along again, smoothly, and let’s face it… waterfalls are incredibly beautiful.
And when the water brings me the sense of clarity it always does, I remind myself, everything is temporary. Beautiful sunsets fade to black. Seasons come and go. People enter and exit. And this time next year I’ll have a brand new story to tell, as I always do.
Today the waters told me it’s time to end this story for a little while. Tougher Than TWOmurs saved me in more ways than I thought possible, and saved a lot of others in the process, as I hope it continues to do. It seems fitting on my TWO-year anniversary to commit to a new story, one where I find myself again. One where I evolve into the next phase, ready to face the good and the bad and learn from them both. One where I love as hard as I can without fear of falling.
This last post is a testament that my spark is still smoldering, somewhere deep down. It hasn’t gone completely out.
It’s just time to turn the page… So that’s exactly what I’ll do. It’s time to say so long to the TWOmurs, maybe not so much the Tough… that I’ll always have.
To all who have supported my journey thus far, I thank you from the bottom of my brave heart. Thank you for being a part of my journey, for sending me your love and light and for sharing Tougher Than TWOmurs more broadly than I could fathom. I hope to be seeing you in the next story. Much love now and always ❤