Cancer is like a monster in the dark that everyone is afraid of. If you get a cancer diagnosis then you become even more afraid. Afraid of the treatment. Afraid that you have not lived your life fully. Afraid of dying. There are a few things in life that will strike fear into the hearts of people and cancer is one of them. Or is it? We live in a world that fosters fear. Look at any newspaper, it is filled with stories of things you should be afraid of. At the moment, breast cancer is copping the spotlight once again. A famous actress in America went public with some preventative treatment she had done because like me, she has a faulty gene that increases the risk of getting cancer. Like me, she had to make some choices about her body and her health. Like me, most likely she made those choices because she was afraid. This lady lost her Mummy to cancer. She is most likely afraid that she will die young and not be around to enjoy her family.
I made my decision when I didn’t have a family of my own. It was a huge decision to make, to remove a healthy part of my body. Medical experts and those close to me weighed in on it. Some prompted me to just bite the bullet and get it done. Others told me to wait and that I should not mutilate myself needlessly. All the while I was in the centre of a whirlwind of information, personal and professional opinions, and fear was a constant companion. Fears about a future I didn’t know if I could have. I was single at the time so what did that mean for any future relationships? How could a man love and accept me with no breasts? I fantasized about the little baby I was yet to have and the practicality of having to go through surgery. Would I develop another cancer in the remaining breast if I was pregnant? How could I hold a baby against my chest when it was full of stitches? Maybe I would be ok and the cancer experience was over? There was much to consider and it was a torturous and confusing time.
I chose to have the right breast removed before cancer had a chance to show up. It also meant that I would have a completely flat chest and never have to worry about wearing a bra again! I did some research into reconstruction but knew it wasn’t for me. My breasts were gone and I had no interest in trying to recreate them. When you get older I will have to explain the mysterious lumps you see on Nana and Grandma’s chest and why they are not on mine. I will point out Daddy’s nipples and tell you that I had some of my own when I was younger.
Choices around cancer treatment, both responsive and preventative, are fear based. I had my remaining healthy breast removed for fear of developing another cancer. I had 5 treatments of a bone cancer drug in a trial that had some success in preventing bone metastases. I ended up with cancer in the bones anyway.
I see the language around cancer as the ‘battle’, the ‘war’, the ‘fight’ and that people who get cancer are ‘victims’. All fear based language. That really needs to change. My experience of cancer has been a blessing and a gift. It pushed my heart’s desire to the fore. It forced me into the cocoon so that I could emerge the butterfly. The experience was painful and blissful, frightening and liberating, dark and illuminating all at once. It presented the most intense contrast in a condensed time. It fast tracked the road to self-love and where there is love, there cannot be fear. I lost my fear of death and emerged with a deep gratitude for LIFE. When I become fearful I need only remind myself that it is the absence of love. When I love myself I shine, just like anyone who loves themselves. When we experience fear our light dims a little. Only because it is clouded by doubt and a sense of separation, the illusion that we are alone. It is not possible because the life force pulsing through others is the same life force that pulses through you. It is the same. We are all the same. If you think about what an amazing scale that exists on it is simply extraordinary.
I am taking a different approach to cancer. It does not scare me. It is merely a malfunction of my physical form. The real me, my soul, cannot be diseased or dysfunctional. It is impossible because it is the source of everything, the life force or as some like to refer to it, God. I want to access that life force to heal. There is not a finite amount of miracles available, they happen all the time. I don’t see why I can’t have one too! I have had deep angst lately while analysing the idea of a miracle. I worried about how I would look to others if I banged on about getting well only to die of cancer anyway. You know what darling Seamus? I don’t know of one single dead person who feels embarrassed because they were wrong! So what do I have to lose? Nobody is going to look into my coffin wagging their finger and tutting saying they told me so. I won’t look away in shame or have a sense of failure because I’ll be dead! From what I know about death it is the ultimate state of bliss when you give up your physical form and blend back into pure energy. Why would I be afraid of that? Why would anyone be afraid of that? It is life that we are most afraid of. We are afraid of being wrong. We are afraid of failure. We are afraid of what we didn’t do and afraid of what we might do. Are any of these things real? Only in the mind. They are only beliefs. It’s time to start believing something different. It’s time to make some different decisions.
I choose to believe I’m going to get well. I choose not to read statistics on survival rates. I choose not to identify my soul with a malfunction of the body. I choose not to be afraid of death. I choose not to be afraid of cancer. I choose to experience myself in the truest way I can and not be afraid of what others think about that. I choose to love myself, to be as present and open hearted as possible and to forgive myself when I am not. I choose love and it seems to me that wellness, healing and miracles follow. You should know Seamus, you ARE a miracle.
I love you.
Miracles occur naturally as expressions of love. The real miracle is the love that inspires them. In this sense everything that comes from love is a miracle” – A Course in Miracles
“Miracles occur naturally as expressions of love. The real miracle is the love that inspires them. In this sense everything that comes from love is a miracle” – A Course in Miracles