The light

There’s a light bulb, brightly illuminating the room that represents my life.

When my mom died in 1997, that light dimmed. Permanently.

Everyone experiences grief and loss differently, but that’s how I see it. I still get excited about all that life has to offer, and I can laugh and smile with the best of them. But, my smile is slightly narrower and my laugh is just a touch softer without my mom in my life.

As I’ve reflected on the past 15 months, I've realized that I knew from early on in my diagnosis that I would do what I could to raise breast cancer awareness and funds for research, treatment and advocacy organizations. My diagnosis enhanced and enriched my life.

I didn’t need chemotherapy to fulfill that mission, though. Nonetheless, I was forced to receive six treatments and 20 more IVs to deal with the side effects.

I look in the mirror, and I still don’t see me.

“It’s a new you,” a friend told me.

“No, this isn’t me,” I replied.

It took me a few weeks to figure out exactly why I have such a visceral response to comments about my short hair. And, then I saw the light, or rather, the light analogy. The light in the room has dimmed again, and somewhat surprisingly, chemotherapy, not cancer, was the cause.

Three years from now, my long hair will be back, but I won’t regain what chemotherapy took from me.

“That doesn’t mean that life isn’t good, right?” a friend inquired.

“Of course it is! I’m thankful this was caught early. I’m grateful for all the blessings that I have. And, I know what I’m meant to do with my life and who my real friends are. I love the wisdom and the clarity piece, but I can’t go back to the person I was before,” I explain.

The logical side of my brain knows that everything happens for a reason. I am the person that I’m supposed to be at this time in my life. But, my heart and my vanity really wish I could have skipped this life lesson.

The light has dimmed again.

However, given the aggressive strain of cancer that I had, I will always be appreciative of the fact that the light is still on at all.

The chemotherapy drugs may still be coming out of my system, but when it comes to dealing with my cancer, it’s time to close that chapter of my life. There is still – and always – much to celebrate.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your support. Your comments, Tweets and emails have meant more to me than words can adequately express. (Yes, I’ve said that before, but it bears repeating.) xoxo

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