Sunday, December 23, 2012

Stay the Course

Last week I was in a state of fear about the possibility of an eventual recurrence. Yet the banner at the top of my blog says:
My commitment is to transform our current cultural conversation about cancer from one of fear and dread to one that empowers those of us who have cancer, as well as our friends & loved ones.
 I had cancer. Cancer didn't have me.
Last week this was not the case. My cancer had me. My thinking had me. It was disempowering and thus it didn't serve me. As a Life Coach I support people navigating a cancer diagnosis so they stay empowered in the face of whatever circumstances they face. Ironically, I was not engaged in the work I do with others. Fortunately, due to the bold generosity of a friend's facebook message and one face-to-face conversation with a new acquaintance on the street, I realized I had stepped away from my commitment to living inside an empowering context regardless of circumstances.

It happens now and again. Of course it does. I'm human. But what was different this time is that I didn't reach out to my support network. Instead I got "stuck in my head." Or to put it plain English, I got scared and didn't speak up with the people in my life who are committed to coach me to create an empowering context to live my life from.

For over five years, I have dealt with painful and profoundly difficult circumstances, and for the most part, I have been able to be strong in the face of it because I consistently reach out for support/coaching when I feel confronted or scared or overwhelmed with my circumstances. As a result, I have remained grateful for my life and present to love for my life, regardless of my circumstances because the circumstances are not me, they are just circumstances. We all have them. But last week I was lost in my circumstances; lost in my fear and forgot there was a way out.

What I'm clear about now is that I can be concerned about my quarterly scan results each time I have a scan, but being afraid of what the results might be, does not serve me. Like being chased by a bear. It makes sense to be scared. But if I'm in a forest where bears live, there's no reason to be scared if I am not aware of any bears. Now inside that of that analogy, I have been chased by bears before, but I am unwilling to walk through the forest scared for the rest of my life. It doesn't serve me. The fear did serve me initially. It got me to take quick action so I could stay alive, but after that, it doesn't provide anything. It just gets in the way.

I am grateful for my life, my kids, my family, and so many people and things. There has been no sign of cancer in my body for over a year. Being declared cancer-free after receiving a Stage IV cancer diagnosis...that's pretty damn fantastic! I still feel like a stranger in my new life, but I'm okay with that because so much of my life is new and uncharted. Christmas begins in two days and will take us into the New Year. I love this time of year. But I won't create a resolution for the coming year. I will stay the course and be clear that I am healthy.

And whether you celebrate Christmas or not, I wish you a Merry Christmas and the strength to face powerfully, whatever circumstances come your way, for the coming year and for many, many more to come.


  1. It can be difficult, allowing ourselves the very human and unfortunately realistic concern that our cancer might recur, without slipping into the trap of living in fear of the cancer and therefore letting the cancer have us. I am due for my annual MRI, and this is always a source of anxiety for me. And my cancer was not nearly as advanced as yours, or as the cancer of several women that I have met through my online support group. Any time spent living in fear of the cancer is wasted time, because it distracts us from the beauty of life as we are living it. Still, we are only human, and sometimes we are afraid.

    Here's to more clean scans for you, and a clean MRI for me.