After receiving feedback and comments from friends, loved one's and undergoing tests myself, life is traumatic. Because the cancer spread so far throughout some of their bodies, one had to take chemotherapy while she was pregnant. That was the beginning of a long journey of pain, faith, sadness, hope, brokenness, and healing from many of them.
I want to share 5 life lessons that I learned.
1. Life is fragile.
Right after I heard those three words, I knew within a second that which was most important to me in life; my family, my friends, and my faith. Everything else that I thought was so important was stripped away (one person decided not to be friends any longer) in my mind. My world had been rocked and my perspective had changed. I realized how fragile life was when immediate family members heard their diagnosis, and when a friend delivered her daughter after two months of chemotherapy.
2. We aren't meant to be islands.
I am really good at offering my help to people, but I was not good at asking for help. While some go through chemotherapy treatments, so weak they need help with every day living. It's a really humbling experience to accept help with childcare, housekeeping, and everyday errands. For the first time I began to understand what being in community was all about. Community is not just when you can give, but it's trusting people when you need to receive help. We aren't meant to be islands in this world. We need each other.
3. There are worse things than being bald.
I don't want to be melodramatic here, but many thought losing their hair was going to be the worst experience ever. I was wrong. I cut most my hair off to show support, however this was by choice. They did\ do not have that option. Watching it fall out slowly was the worst experience. After watching clumps of hair fall all over the place, It was the most liberating experience of my life. Many people opt to wear wigs and wraps most of the time, but sometimes, I just let my shiny, bald head be bare and exposed. There was something beautiful about those vulnerable moments of showing my bald head.
4. You learn a lot about your faith when you are put through the fire.
My faith in God changed a lot during my sister's cancer. Not because I was so strong. It was just the opposite. I was so weak. For the first time in my life, I realized that I wasn't in control and I couldn't manipulate the future. I even tried to become the great deal maker with God.Finally I broke down and gave it all to God. For the first time in my life, my prayer life was real. I poured out every emotion in my body; anger, sadness, disappointment, and fear. Then I cried out for answers, peace, healing, hope. God answered in His own ways.I can't explain it, but my faith was strengthened in my brokenness.
5. The fight is still going on. We need to find a cure
I am very much aware that I and other's are here because people continue to fight for a cure. While I await my tests and forthcoming results, we all know someone who has cancer. Right now I have two very dear friends who are fighting cancer and one former friend who was waiting for tests with no health insurance.
My friend Michelle is watching her son go through his second battle with a rare tissue cancer. Jack is such a sweet little guy. He should be playing with his friends, not laying in a hospital bed fighting for his life. We need to find a cure for Jack.
My other friend Julie was just diagnosed with cancer last week. Julie is a fighter; a glass-half-full kind of girl. She also has the most amazing heart. Just two years ago, she did a Breast Cancer walk to raise funds for cancer research. Now she is experiencing all of this on a personal level. We need to find a cure for Julie.
There are so many others that need our help. Embrace life, friends new and old, repair differences with friends and loved one's! Open your arms, support them, be thankful, ask to do everyday chores, give them a ride, share time....life is to short and nobody can have enough friends.
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