Growing After Cancer

“Perhaps, even here, I am growing.”
–Morgan Harper Nichols–

I read this today and it struck a chord within me. I’ve been struggling mentally, physically, and emotionally for the past few years – struggling to make sense of this new normal post-cancer. A normal that doesn’t make sense to me.

People don’t like to talk about how hard life can be after you kick cancer to the curb because you should just be grateful to be alive and well. But we aren’t always well. Chemo and radiation come with some nasty long term effects that gradually show themselves over the course of the rest of our lives. Plus our bodies are different and react to things differently and we feel mentally changed. It’s a lot to handle. And we forever feel the shadow of death waiting to make his move again, wondering, worrying, waiting.

Some days are fine, normal, dare I say. Other days are rough. I don’t like to air my dirty health history for the world to see, but I also need be okay with talking about it. The past four years have been rough with my health. I’ve been diagnosed with low thyroid, premature ovarian insufficiency, and anxiety and depression follow me around like a wailing ghost, desperate for some attention. And I live with pain and fatigue I’ve never had before and don’t always know how to manage it. And the way all of this affects my diabetes is crazy. None of this new normal makes sense to me.

But in this unfamiliar place, I am learning, I am growing, I am writing the story I will tell my grandkids someday when they lose hope and don’t know where to turn. I know now how to find joy in the simplest of things and never to turn down a moment to make a memory. I know I’ve grown this core of strength in my soul that will always hold me up when I am too weak because I’ve faced down death and laughed in his face. Nothing can bring me down so far that I can’t stand back up. I needed this reminder today.