I have often told people that I wish I could travel back in time and talk to my past self on the day I was diagnosed with cancer because nothing has ever been the same since then. For me, cancer was like a nuclear bomb in my life. My entire life had been now divided into two time periods: Before Cancer and After Cancer.
As I write this, I am traveling back to "B.C.," and to be perfectly honest, it's hard to go back there. It's difficult to put myself back in the headspace I was in when I first found out I had cancer because it was a painful time and I am an ardent believer in never looking back. I choose to look back now in hopes that my story can help others cope better than I did at the beginning.
I was diagnosed two weeks before my 37th birthday. It was 5:00pm on a Friday afternoon and I was the very the last patient seen in the office that day. I left the office, having just been told that I had cancer, in a total state of shock and feeling completely numb. It was a surreal experience, like I was stuck in someone else's life. On the drive home, while in traffic and with tears falling from eyes, my thoughts were racing. "This can't be happening to me! This happens to other people, but not to ME!"
That day was the darkest and lowest point of my life. Having never been faced with my own mortality before, I was ill equipped to deal with the weight of it all. I felt the walls closing in on me. I struggled to breathe. My heart raced. I was having the first of many anxiety attacks. No one in my family or close circle of friends had ever had cancer before, and my only preconceived notion of it was that it was an automatic death sentence. There was no way out. I was on borrowed time. This was the end.
Over the course of that weekend and into the next week, I succumbed to a great depression. I didn't want to be around or talk to anyone. I just wanted to cry myself to sleep and shake my fist at the universe in anger and disbelief. I was inconsolable and I questioned everything, including my faith.
But at some point in that depression, I realized that I had a very important choice to make and that the decision was still in my hands: I could either continue down the road of fear or I could turn around and go down the road of love. At first, I chose the wrong road. I went down the road of fear and it was a living hell. It was only through the grace of God that I was shown the road of love and light, and that road led me to a beautiful destination of natural healing and spiritual awakening.
Once I chose the road of love, fear was never an option. It was completely gone from my life. I stopped fighting cancer and let it in. I embraced it and let it be a part of my life, a part of my story. The road of love also led me to a great revelation. I realized that I was given a great mission and purpose in life.
I was the first person that I knew to get cancer and it was up to me to find a way through it so that I could be the light in someone else's darkness. I was chosen to be that person who I wished to talk to before; That person who could help me change lanes from the road of fear onto the road of love. I was chosen to help others and make a difference in their lives and I am thankful for the honor of being selected for such a powerful mission!
If I could travel back in time and talk to my past self the day I was diagnosed with cancer, I would only tell myself one thing, one simple sentence: "Don't fall into fear, just fall in love."
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