I was diagnosed at age 40 with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. I was devastated. Cancer made me unhappy. Cancer made me sad. Cancer made me withdrawal from my life. At least that’s what I thought…
I was one chemo dose into my cancer treatment and I had “a quantum moment.” I was in the shower. My doctor told me I couldn’t take a bath, because chemo kills all your fast-growing cells and the cells that hold your fingernails and toe nails on are somewhat fast growing cells. If you soak in water, you can soak off your nails. Gross, I know.
So, I was in the shower and feeling very unhappy and sad. I sat down in the shower and started to cry. My hair had just started to fall out that morning. I’m not sure how long I was there but long enough that a bunch of hair had found its way to the drain. The water had backed up and was a couple of inches deep. I started to laugh. I was technically having a bath! My fingers and toes were out of the water yet I was sitting in water. The very thing that I was told that I couldn’t do, I was doing. It was the first step in changing how I felt about my cancer (there were many more to come)!
I had all these preconceived notions about how a cancer patient should feel, should act, should be. Most of them were negative. I gained my power back when I decided that cancer wasn’t making me unhappy. My thoughts were. Cancer wasn’t making me sad. I was. Cancer wasn’t making me withdraw from life. I decided to do that. It was a terrible and wonderful discovery. Terrible because I had caused my own pain. Wonderful because now I controlled the power to make myself feel better.
One of my favorite phrases during cancer treatment was “It is what it is.” I said it over and over, and it was true. Circumstances are what they are. The power comes from the meaning we give it.
I was not able to change the fact that I had cancer and you may not be able to change a situation in your life. You do however, have the power to give it meaning.
What circumstance can you not change, but if you changed the meaning, you would be happier?
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