I can remember the feeling when I was a child of our car driving around a sharp turn or a steep hillside and thinking that it would swerve too widely and go over the edge. I would hold the door handle, trying to prevent that from happening, thinking that I could.
I was too young to understand that my holding the door handle could not influence the path of the car. Yet as an adult, I sometimes still approach my fears in a similar way, persisting in pointless actions.
I’ve learned over the years to accept the things I cannot change and change the things I can. I can’t control the outcome of my circumstances, or other people, and I sure can’t control the cancer I was given and the double mastectomy I had because of it. I couldn’t make life unfold according to Laurie’s plans in my earlier life, and I still cannot.
When I am the driver, the responsibility for steering clear of the road’s edge is mine. Each day it is up to me to take my recovery seriously—physically, emotionally and spiritually. I need to work on my attitude and take care of my mind, body and spirit. I can stay positive in the face of the negative, be mindful of the lessons I am supposed to be learning, and keep being the best version of me. These are the things that I can control.
Sometimes the only way I can determine what to accept and what to change is by trial and error. I make mistakes and know that those mistakes can be opportunities to gain the wisdom to know the difference. (For instance, I made a poor choice after my surgery to shower by myself one day; because of that, I took four steps back in my recovery and learned a tough lesson in my cancer healing.)
My recent cancer journey has been one that I had no control over and needed to trust that everything would work out the way it was supposed to. The fear and anxiety that I felt, up to the day the pathology report came in, was unbearable at times. Sometimes I didn’t have an ounce of energy to pray or think positively.
The power of everyone’s healing vibes, thoughts and prayers are what carried me through each day, and I extend tremendous love to all those who helped me during this difficult time. Thank you so much to everyone who delivered meals and sent gifts, cards and messages. That love gave me hope; the hope gave me light; the light gave me strength; the strength gave me courage; and the courage gave me the power to fight and conquer. For that I am super grateful to you all.
I can now say, with much gratitude, love and relief, that I am cancer-free! It didn’t spread to my lymph nodes and I do not need treatment, which is a miracle. My days are filled with much discomfort, the frustration of not being able to drive or move my arms over my head, and accepting the loss of my breasts. It’s okay. This is a time to slow down and heal. This is my new journey! My temporary life!
I still find myself the passenger in the car holding the door handle, trying to control the outcome, and I have to close my eyes, take a deep breath, have faith—and trust that all will be as it should be. █