Just over two months ago I was sitting in my doctor’s office hearing the dreaded word “cancer” being discussed. My results were back – I was being told that I had Stage 1B1 glandular cervical cancer. Me? No ways! Impossible! But….true. Within minutes, my life changed. I remember sitting in the radiology department, that afternoon, waiting for the results of my scans. For two hours I sat numbly, hearing, over and over again, the words ‘You have cancer” bouncing around my mind. I think I went into shock as I started to tremble. I was to experience that trembling feeling quite often over the next few weeks as I tried to absorb what was happening in my life. One minute I had been griping about mundane things (you only realise how mundane many things are when you are faced with something seriously serious!), the next I was grappling with a possibly life threatening situation. Nothing like a bit of cancer to put a whole new perspective on one’s life.
The days following my diagnosis raised emotions ranging from disbelief to absolute fear, from horror to total acceptance. I had to visit an oncologist – that word puts as much fear into me as the word cancer. He was one of the many angels I was to encounter on this little journey I have been on over the past two months. And there were many of them. These many angels were real gifts.
I don’t usually share my personal life with many people but somehow, this time, I began to realise that there were people out there who cared about me. One of the biggest gifts I received from this illness was being open to receiving all the love that was being showered on me during that time – from my partner, my daughter, other family members, my friends, my shaman teacher, my life coaching clients, my own life coach, my dogs. So much love that made me feel safe when I was at my most vulnerable. Love truly heals.
I was adamant to treat this illness as a gift, to embrace it, to love it and to heal from it. I kept saying to myself, ‘What lesson must I learn from this experience?” until my shaman teacher put the experience in a completely different light. This was not about learning a lesson but rather a time of clearing, rather like a car that has been running for a long time and needs its engine thoroughly cleaned out. My poor body needed to be cleaned out of all the past issues it has been carrying for such a long time. It reminded me of what “change” was all about – through clearing, healing takes place and so new gifts will emerge.
I was fortunate to receive the powerful gift of energy healing. Many of my shaman friends spent hours focusing on my healing. Through their healing I was able to face a frightening time with calm and ease. My physical body was also ready to take the onslaught it was going to receive in order to remove the cancer tumour. One of the greatest gifts I received was the night before going into surgery, when my partner performed a sacred ritual which gave me and my body the safe, loving space to give gratitude and love for all that my body has done for me and for all that it continues to do for me. I firmly believe that when my surgeon cut me open all he saw was rays of bright, bright light shining out!
The gifts kept coming – four days after surgery my test results came back clear. The cancer had not spread. A week later, another gift, a reminder as to how blessed I am came when my oncologist looked me in the eye and said, “Someone up there must really like you. You have had a very lucky escape. You have been given a second chance to live life fully. Make sure you do”.
The past six weeks of being allowed to just BE, to sit quietly, to read some amazing books, to rest, to be nursed and cared for with such love, to heal, to step off the crazy hamster wheel that is life nowadays. It is a wonderful gift indeed, to be given the opportunity to retreat, re-assess and re-gather myself. This time has also shown me how valuable one’s health is and that it shouldn’t be taken for granted.
Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that cancer would have been the reason for all of these beautiful gifts I have been given. And, yes, I do realise and deeply appreciate that I am one of the very fortunate ones, one of the very blessed ones to have had a close shave with cancer. I am so extremely grateful to be given a second chance to live life to the full.
When someone called me a cancer survivor the other day, I was a bit taken aback – me, a cancer survivor? It all seems surreal now and yet all I need to do is look at my test results that confirmed the cancer tumour,actually seeing the cancer tumour in an ultrasound, remember the words of the doctor telling me of my diagnosis, my oncologist telling me in one breath that it was bad news but then saying, so convincingly, that he was sure we had caught it in time. All I need to do is remember those first few days of diagnosis and then realise, that yes, I did have cancer and yes, I did survive it. I have the scar to prove it.
And, I do believe that the greatest gift one can be given is a second chance.