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.