Seemingly the possibilities are endless.
Upon first hearing ‘you have cancer’ we were forced to face the specter of mortality; in our face and way too close for comfort.
Next up was the impact our diagnosis had on friends and family and if we were parents, our children–now suddenly faced with challenges that had no rightful place in the happy childhood we’d imagined for them.
Loss was a word that soon figured largely in our everyday existence, with bodies that suddenly looked and felt very different as cancer became part of our identity on both the meta and purely physical level.
Stress and anxiety—our finances, interpersonal relationships, jobs. Everything was suddenly at risk.
However, that didn’t stop each of us from trying to put a brave face on. We sucked it up and made an honest effort to find the silver lining in cancer. Certainly there was opportunity for personal growth, but at a cost oh so dear.
And then we discovered that the one really good thing to come from our disease was each other.
Since my diagnosis, I have had the privilege of knowing, interacting with and often growing quite close to an incredible assortment of extraordinary individuals. Brave, gracious, generous, kind, caring, fun. Lovely, lovely people who have made my life so much richer.
However, there is an obvious downside to falling in love with others who are battling cancer and that is the potential for heartbreak.
Last week the lung cancer community lost someone who had touched the hearts of many. Maybe it was her youth, the fact that she was a young wife and mother, or perhaps it was Elizabeth Dessureault’s radiant smile and outgoing personality that made her so appealing and accessible.
Her passing took us each by surprise and the ripple of grief soon became a big wave. Shock and sadness turned to anger and for some, fear.
The truth is, you can have the best oncologist in the world (Elizabeth, like me, saw Dr. Shaw) and although your odds may be improved, the course of this disease remains ridiculously unpredictable.
It is all so very disheartening.
And yet. There is only one way to go and that is forward. You and me. Live and love some more. Because every moment is precious and no one is assured a tomorrow.