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Third Time's the Charm?

It is hard to quantify a feeling. We are asked to rank physical pain on a scale of 1-10, and yet, when the heart is breaking, when the emotions run deep, there is no objective way to describe it because somehow, words seem insufficient. We give a label to things because we must call them something in order to give them meaning. There is the idea that naming something gives it power, including the power to hurt us. And so, you sit with that emotion, trying to calm the fear inside, the thing that makes you want to run, even though you know there is no place to hide.

If that sounds dramatic, it is because for me this is a dramatic moment, a place revisited too many times. I am reminded of that 90’s film Groundhog’s Day. Gee, I hated that movie. So yeah, by now, you have probably guessed that I got bad news following my scan. The alien is back, and this will be my third battle with the monster that has chosen to take up residency in my body. Maybe the third time will be the charm. What the heck does that mean, anyway?

It’s funny, isn’t it, that I avoid using the word “cancer” when I refer to my illness? I sidestep it in this crazy dance I do. I hate the word, its connotation dark and threatening. It is the Big Daddy diagnosis, the one that sends you into a tailspin, with nothing but negative implications. Let’s face it: we have all been sick. Perhaps you have had the flu, an appendectomy, a kidney stone. It is intense, awful, but eventually it’s over. (Hopefully.) Cancer isn’t neat and tidy like that. It is brutal, relentless in its desire to destroy your body.

And it sucks.

We have all been taught that if we can dream it and believe it, we can achieve it. We are assured that a bit of positive thinking can cure disease while creating a place for us to be whole. But that’s a bunch of bull. We do have limits, and that, of course, is part of being human. Sometimes, they simply show up at your door, uninvited. Sometimes, they result from your own choices. But as I have learned in the past three years, those limits force us to dig deep, to find solutions, to discover who we truly are. Somehow, we have to work with what is instead of what we wish it to be. We have to embrace reality, whether it is easy or difficult. And we have to learn to love this life, even the imperfect parts.

So here I go again, strapping on my armor, preparing to fight once more. I know the battle plan by heart by now. And I have become quite the warrior. My General continues to protect me as I march through the Valley of the Shadow. And I fear no evil; not even cancer.

Send me all of your positive thoughts and keep me in your prayers. I draw strength from them.

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