Healing from cancer

Karen - Denver, Colorado
Entered on April 13, 2009

I found myself going to the hospital last night, the same one where I had had my months of chemotherapy, my weeks of daily radiation, subsequent to my diagnosis of breast cancer the summer before. The same hospital where I ended up having to give up my breast when those same treatments failed. Last night I had to walk by the very surgery ward where I had that operation. And why did I take such a journey, at 9:00 pm on a snowy night, here in Denver – because my step-daughter was having our second grandson. I was doing this walk because another life was being brought into this world and I was a part of it.

I have been asked by a caring cousin, “How do I deal with my spiritual healing?” My answer is that I try to let only good things into my space and keep out the negative, which is easier because I no longer have any tolerance for the negative. I avoid people who elicit bad thoughts, I try to let go of thoughts that I am out of control over, and engage in activities that allow me to express my power and talents. Basically I am functioning the way any good recovering addict must in order to regain balance, reward, and value in their lives.

I have learned over this past year on whom I can rely to understand me, who can truly give meaningful, thoughtful and healthy energy to me… and have worked on forgiving the rest. I am left with intense thankfulness for those who hung in there with me, who gave me not just their love, but their intelligence, their kindnesses…

Something I do not say is, “Because of cancer I have moved into a better place in the world.” Sometimes in stories on the news or wherever, it is possible to hear people thanking the very hardship that shifted them from one place to another and blessing it. To hear them say things like “I appreciate – fill in the blank – more now”.

I can whole heartedly say at this point, my life would be much better if I had never had cancer. That cancer has taken things from me and has made the process of keeping my balance more difficult. I do not see the sky as bluer, the mountains as more magical, my husband as nicer, my family or friends as more anything. The very day I learned that I had cancer, prior to receiving the phone call from the radiologist, I had just called my husband and left a message saying, “Life is good”. I do not believe that having cancer has allowed this truth to be any more real for me than it was then, it has just made it harder for me count on it.

With cancer one does not grow physically stronger, when one has had to slash, poison and radiate themselves to rid it from their body. The mind does not get more attentive to others when there remains a clear and present danger that will only make itself known through an unusual pain or strange bodily sensation. It makes all pain and weird sensations a distraction. Do I bless cancer for this?

So, part of my spirituality says that, at the very least, there is no judgment in this world. There are things that happen, things that can help and things that can harm. I do not think it is my place to act as if harm was there for any reason other than, “it is and now what?” That it is important to have a healthy network and resources with which to counter, redirect, change that harm, but it does not mean that one’s duty is to learn to see that harm as something other than…

Basically I have always striven to be as strong, smart, engaged as I could be, and I believe that that has helped in my healing. I believe in self-awareness because it helps us manage whatever. I believe in love but only as a directional signal; without it one would not know where to direct one’s energy, but one still needs to do something with it for love to matter. I think that I have always believed these things. Part of me almost wishes that I could say that, because of cancer I am stronger or smarter or better or…, but I really can not. So, my spirit allows it to be and that has been my biggest challenge.

I do remain thankful for the many gifts, for the love offered me. I know that I remain committed to the belief that learning and creating are what will help us solve issues and evolve, if not save us.