Once in a while, people tell us things and we go for weeks, months and sometimes even years before we “get” it. I had one of those moments today. Friends, family, counselors and books all tell me that it’s okay to be depressed and sad about the diagnosis I received. But eventually, it’s important to get to the place where you can accept it, learn from it and move forward. Not so easy to do when it comes screaming at you, kicking down your door and robbing your life in all ways imaginable. BUT, today I got a taste of acceptance, and it feels pretty good.
Here’s what I’ve learned:
I cannot change how strong the cancer in my body is, but God has given me some control over how strong I am.
For instance, I know that if I eat good foods, my body will be stronger and less drained from trying to digest processed foods, sugars, carbohydrates, etc. I also know that if I sit around all day, the blood clots in my legs will get worse, but if I get up, go outside and walk around the block a few times, it will improve my circulation, and at least in a small way help me stay alive. I also know that if I stay hydrated and drink water, smoothies, herbal teas, etc, then my body can process the chemicals from chemo better, keep them moving through my system, and shorten recovery time. So yes, I CAN eat well, exercise safely, and drink fluids to make my body stronger. What can a stronger body do against cancer? Let’s see!
I cannot change how long I will live, but I have been given a choice as to how I will live until the day I die.
Last week, a doctor told me I had three to six months – maybe a year – to live. Honestly, he may be right, but he may also be absolutely wrong. So do I want to live each day waiting for his inevitable? No. I’d rather live each day hoping my inevitable is a LONG ways off. Living in hope is a much better option than waiting to die, and I can choose not to predict the future. We all will pass one day, so while we’re alive, we get to choose how we will live each of those days. Hope is a good choice.
I cannot change how other people will see me while I am sick, but I can can choose how I will see others.
I’ll be honest. When you’re sick, you need help. You need caregivers who watch out for you, pick up after you, go to doctors offices with you, and drive you around when you’re too weak or medicated. There are moments when I am too drained to answer a text, make a phone call, or get out of bed. But all moments aren’t like that. Thank God for the help people have offered me and my family. We couldn’t do it without you. However, there is a point where I need to see myself still as a functioning part of society, and learn what my new responsibilities are, how much weight a can carry, and be obedient to care for those around me just as if I were not sick, as best as I can. Otherwise, I become someone who has nothing to offer to society. Instead, I’d rather see others with the same value as before my diagnosis, and learn how to continue to serve them, to be of use, to offer something helpful to the world around me.
I cannot change things that happened in the past… even if some of those things contributed to the cause of my disease.
However, I can acknowledge my mistakes, apologize to those I’ve hurt, change any patterns that are unhealthy in terms of mind, body or spirit, and allow God to finish the work He began in me when I got saved. At this point, I can truthfully say I don’t want to remain the person I was last year. I want to be less controlling, more spontaneous, more positive about life, more generous, and less hurt from things that happened long ago that can no longer be changed or righted. It is time to simply forgive and move on. Life IS better that way.
So those are some of thing things that I’ve started accepting.
Yes, I still have life-threatening cancer. Yes, the doctors still don’t know if I’ll live or die (actually, only one I know believes I have a fighting chance, and that’s why she’s my oncologist again). Yes, this is all quite scary at times. So in the face of all that, I will try to stay focused on only those things that I CAN do. As for the rest of it… it’s simply out of my control, and right now, that’s okay.
– Sanford Kravette