Doctors and other cancer survivors have told me that cancer changes you:
Causes you to reprioritize.
Causes you to appreciate life more.
It is my last day of chemo for round 3 and I can't WAIT to go home later tonight. The last day always feels so long.
I have a lot of time to think (for better or for worse) and so I sit here and wonder how cancer is changing me and will change me. Although this will mark the halfway point of treatment (wohoo!!!), I still feel like I am at the beginning. I think I have exited the stage of shock I was in and and am able to start processing.
One thing I have noticed is that I have slowed down. This probably sounds like a "duh" statement. Of course it has! My body has been beaten up by surgeries and chemo! Let me attempt to explain:
In being forced to slow down, my life has been boiled down to the important things. Before cancer, I moved fast all the time. My brain moved fast and my body moved fast. I lived with this constant pressure to achieve, accomplish, and produce. I have always put a lot of pressure on myself and measured my worth by how much I was getting checked off my "to do" list. I was constantly looking at what others were doing to see if I was measuring up. I rarely felt like I was doing or being enough.
The realization of how much less I would be able to do hit me HARD early on in this process. I spent weeks mourning the loss of "my life: By "life," I mean the ability to cook and clean for my family. To hold my baby as long as needed or wanted. To shop. To drive. To do lots of fun things with my kids. To teach piano. To workout. To simply feel good.
I was devastated.
Since those beginning days, I have found a new rhythm and routine. With A TON of help from friends and family, life has moved on. I may have a long list of "can't dos," but I have begun to notice my "can dos" as well. I am still able to show love to my husband and my kids. And that is enough. The simple things in life that I used to rush through because I deemed them "unimportant" or "not enough" are the ones that I take the most pleasure in now:
Reading to my kids.
Sitting with my husband
Hugging my family
Sitting still long enough to just look at them and to notice the details of how they look, talk, and laugh.
Putting my kids to bed.
Just. Being. Together.
For these things and so much more, I am grateful.