Several weeks ago, I was having a moment that I'm not particularly proud of. I was feeling selfish and to be honest, a little angry and weak. I have fought tooth and nail not to dwell on the "why me", but rather to focus on the good that I have experienced throughout my cancer journey. I have experienced such growth with my perspective, mindset and how I see and value myself. How could I actually NOW be having a pity party for myself? The answer is simple....because I'm human. Here's the scenario: I was having a conversation with one of my soul sisters and I seriously muttered the words "Why did I have to endure everything I did? Why did I have stage 3? Why did I have to go through everything imaginable? On the flip side, why did I survive when others didn't? Chemo, radiation, surgery, reconstruction, sepsis, ICU stay, clinical trial...why?" My patient portal diagnosis page looks like one hell of a rap sheet. In the last two years, this is what I racked up: Breast Cancer (obviously), acute respiratory failure, kidney injury, renal failure, anemia, heart failure, pneumonia, sepsis and of course stuff like low white blood cells, monthly injections, yada, yada. It's been a lot, but the great thing is....I'm good! I'm here, I"m healthy, My light was dim, but never out. I'm actually stronger now than I ever have been and I am more grateful for my journey than I ever would have imagined. Even so, I muttered those words and my dear angel had the perfect response. She told me "It's because you can relate to more people now because of what you've been through. You can help them and understand them in a way others can't." Thank you my friend. (Cue the tears). I started my blog a little over a year ago. It was a place for me to document and, to be real, process what I've been through. It also was a place for me to put my story out there to hopefully help others relate, laugh, cry...whatever! There weren't a lot of people I knew that had been through what I was going through at my age with my circumstances. Cancer is tough no matter what, but cancer and kids and work and just trying not to lose myself in the process was hard. It was also lonely. My hope was Killing It Friday would reach even one person and make them feel a part of a community. I honestly didn't expect to have the community I have today. I am grateful and so blessed with all of you. About 3 months ago, I expanded my blog into a website with some other, I hope, useful information for my fellow warriors. Today, I'm launching what I believe to be the best part of this whole operation. Introducing...Angel Squad.
It's been in the works for quite some time, but I'm letting her fly now. The whole idea is sharing strength and love so that no warrior ever feels alone on their journey. This is particularly important now since so many people are facing treatment and appointments alone with the current pandemic we are facing. Despite the best of circumstances, I learned from my experience that there comes a point where you feel very isolated. No one could really understand how I was feeling or what fears I was juggling. I hate admitting this, but in complete transparency my faith in God was also on shaky ground. I just didn't feel his presence like I thought I would. Instead I navigated some major darkness alone...one could argue, I struggled dealing with his absence. I did, however, always feel the presence of Angels. I met people at the strangest times that would talk to me about things that I needed to hear in that very moment. I met people who supported me in a way that I needed, but didn't have in my life to that point. I saw signs. Lots of them and I still see them. They guide me, they heal me, they speak to me. I know without a doubt that I have had Angels with me. I also know now, that God knew this was and is how he could reach me. I've always said that I am proud of how tough I am and how I'm able to take on a challenge or fear in general and battle, just dance with it. My wings were ready for my cancer battle. They started out strong and able. Over time, some days they became quite heavy. Other days they felt broken. This is often when one of my angels known to me or perhaps a stranger, would appear and lift me up. It was like my wings got a much needed boost. My angels helped me to stay afloat and some days even helped me to all out fly. So Angel Squad is an opportunity for me to give someone else a boost. It's as simple as find the tab on my webpage marked "Angel Squad" and scroll down to the point where you can submit your name or the name of someone you love who is battling. I will send them a note and a special Angel sticker that they can take with them on their journey. Some of my most influential friends who are living out their passions have sent me their stickers for their various endeavors and I look at them daily for strength. Honestly, I see them each day when I write and it guides me to live out one of my passions. I see this as a win, win! I mean, who doesn't love mail....the good kind! As well as, I want to extend a piece of hope and love from Killing It Friday to you. I am continuing to recognize old and new angels in my life who help me with the strength and grace that I need to soar. Let me and this community be there as an Angel, a Squad, for you.
With a little bit of time and reflection and letting the advice of my dear friend sink in...I have come to the conclusion that I will never know "Why Me". I don't believe that everything necessarily happens for a reason. That doesn't explain to me the hard reality that others did not survive. I do believe that for some reason, God was not done with me here on earth. Which is great, because I don't think I am done either. I do believe I can find purpose through experience, even a chaotic one at that, and turn tragedy into opportunity. A quote was read to me during my survivor support group this week that seriously hit the nail on the head. A sign from the universe if you will (wink). Here goes:
"Let me suggest that the bad things that happen to us in our lives do not have meaning when they happen to us. They do not happen for any good reason that could cause us to to accept them willingly. But we can give them meaning. We can redeem these tragedies from senselessness by imposing meaning on them. The question we should be asking is not Why did this happen to me? What did I do to deserve this? These are really unanswerable, pointless questions. A better question would be, now that this has happened to me, what am I going to do about it?"
-Rabbi Harold Kushner
Love to you all ,my Angels....Let's Do Something About It. -M