Courage is the power to let go of the familiar.”– Raymond Lindquist

Based on your results, I’m making a preliminary diagnosis of mast cell leukemia. You’ll need to start chemo. The sooner the better. I’ve referred you to an oncologist…”

Those words recently changed my life in an instant. My finally stable, happy world yet again ripped out from under me. My mind and emotions running the gamut. I’m still not quite sure I know what I’m feeling.

As I enter the ninth month of treatments, there’s been a lot of reflection. 

Growth I would say. 

I am someone who always believes there”s lessons in life’s struggles; always the optimist. You bring more of what you focus on in your life kind of gal. After a recent hospital stay that now has me wheelchair bound, those reflections are coming a plenty. They bringing clarity one can only learn from going through something like this.  

As they’ve come, I noticed a pattern. 

The lessons I am to learn. 

Those being:

Going through an experience like this has taught me fighting a disease like this requires levels of badass warrior inner strength

One I never knew I had until I had to reach deep inside myself to find it. 

Your ‘normal’ will change

You will have to alter how you maneuver; and that’s okay. Give yourself grace.  The new normal will feel comfortable eventually. 

It has taught me the true definition of fear

Not the disease itself, but it being the catalyst forcing you to face things that are hard. The unknowing can be paralyzingly frightening. 

It has taught me true surrender

Diseases like this will dominate you. No matter how much you fight. Your body will surrender in the end. Control belongs to the medication, not you. Allow yourself the surrender. There is healing in doing so. 

How important it is to laugh a belly laugh several times a day

Laughter will get you through. Seek it out. 

What it means to be truly loved

I’m talking about the kind of love that stands with you and holds your hair while you vomit for the thousandth time today. 

The kind of love that hands you a washcloth and some water while they whisk the bucket away.

The kind of love that will help you stand, wipe your butt, put you back in bed with a smile and say I love you.

The kind of love that stayed.

The definition of gratefulness

Every day you wake up is a gift. Look for the blessings in your life. There’s a plethora. 

Your disease is not about you

No, it’s about those around you. How they look at you. How you do not want to worry them so you hide and downplay things.

You keep it to protect them because you know they are hurting seeing you go through this. 

“I am fine,” will become your new favorite phrase. 

In hearing fine, they think you are the same, but; you are not. You no longer have the spoons to talk down someone at thirty when you’re at a two-hundred.

Know it’s not personal. They are lost in all of this too.

You will question how much change does it take to completely obliterate any sense of you?

I I promise, quite a bit,

In the end, I have learned I am competing against a wicked and perverse opponent. 

A bitch illness that is very hard to beat.

She won’t win. 

The bitch don’t know me.