Cancer

It has been a long time since I’ve posted on my blog, but I have a good reason for my absence.

I have cancer. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, to be exact.

So, you can see why I have been MIA; my attention has been elsewhere, of course. Not surprisingly, my energy level has been less than stellar. So much so that I was unable to read or write for three months. (My family was extremely concerned about this as I’m an avid reader and love to write.) Now that I’m slowly getting back to myself, it feels good.

I’ve hesitated to share this news publicly because a cancer diagnosis feels like it changes everything. And it does. Everyone looks at you differently and you see yourself through different eyes. It took a while for me to feel OK about talking with anyone, including family and close friends, about my condition. But I think it’s time. I’ve come to terms with my health and what I need to do to get better. Plus, this experience has taught me so much about gratitude and the generosity of family, friends and even strangers.

Life is full of surprises. We may be going on full speed with our lives and, without warning, something changes. We’re not ready for it. (The truth is we’re never ready for it, but there it is.) I was in denial for a long time until I couldn’t turn my back on what was happening. I finally embraced it and I’m the better for it.

I am learning to be grateful about what really matters, which for me is easier said than done. I am learning that I am often preoccupied with unimportant – in the big scheme of things – worries and obsessions. In particular, I am finally coming to terms with the fact that my extreme focus on my job and all the conflicts normally associated with that have for too long negatively impacted the rest of my life. As difficult as this is (old habits are hard to break), I want to change this. I need to find new and healthier ways to continue to love what I do as a teacher while finding my way back to myself and my family. I am calling this balance: a much needed adjustment to how I live my life.

So, I am grateful for this new opportunity that life has given me to get it right. To fix what is broken. To have faith in myself so that I can be a happier, better version of who I am. To rejoice in all of the people and things that I am thankful for. To take (real) risks and to trust myself that everything is as it should be.

On this journey I have encountered the generosity of others. I bask in the love of my family as they continue to care for me, letting go bit by bit as I get stronger. Friends check in on me and let me know that they care. Strangers have shown me that kindness and empathy are still relevant. And I’ve discovered that, despite my worst fears, no one looks at me differently.

So, here I am again.

Cross posted to Two Writing Teachers Tuesday Slice of Life Challenge.

14 thoughts on “Cancer

  1. margaretsmn says:

    Elisa,
    I am so glad you were brave enough to share your journey with your cyber friends like me. I am not one of those people who believes things happen for a reason. I believe that we, with God with us, find the reason. You will find your path through this. I’m happy you have such a strong support system. Keep reaching out and reaching in. You’ve got this!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your kind words, Margaret. I think that things happen for a reason, but that we have to figure out what it is and make it work in our lives. As my therapist said, my body is telling me to slow down, to be mindful, to prioritize. That’s what I’ll be working on in the coming months so that I can make this second nature rather than it’s opposite.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Elisa – I’m thinking of you and sending love and healing thoughts. It’s so heartening to read that you are viewing cancer as a moment to rethink the balance and meaning in your life. I’m glad I found my way to your blog. I found your words inspiring and shared them with Cheryl. Thank you for sharing your experiences and insights.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Debi. Thank you for your comment. Moving forward I am planning on making needed changes to find balance. I have to admit I’m kind of nervous about that. I’ve tried before and I haven’t been successful, but I’m feeling optimistic. It’s now or never.

      Like

  3. Kathy says:

    Elisa – So glad you got to the place where sharing makes sense. One huge benefit is learning from others who have traveled this road. Another is the abundance of good thoughts coming your way! Here’s to healing! Best, Kathy

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dear Elisa,

    Nobody is ready for a diagnosis like this. It takes strength to heal and it takes strength to show one’s vulnerability to others. Thank you for your trust in this community to share this side of your life with us. Sending many good vibes your way – to have the power to take care of your physical, mental and emotional health. I think writing will be of help along the way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Terje, Thank you for your comment. I am regaining my strength, both physical and emotional, as I make my way through this experience. I agree that writing will help me heal. It already has.

      Like

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