Sunday, June 10, 2018

"The changing of sunlight to moonlight, reflections of my life."

The day after I got my invasive breast cancer diagnosis, I headed into work and flipped on the radio as I drove. They were playing a song I've not heard in many years, the only hit of The Marmalade, from 1969, called "Reflections of my Life." The lyrics at the moment I turned the radio on were:

"The world is
A bad place,
A bad place,
A terrible place to live.
Oh, but I don't want to die.
All my sorrows,
Sad tomorrows,
Take me back to my own home.
All my crying,
Feel I'm dying, dying,
Take me back to my own home."

I probably don't need to tell you I cried all the way to work. (And pretty much off and on every day after that for the next week or so.) But when I got home that day and looked up the song, I also found a recent remake by the lead singer, Dean Ford. It is much more compelling from an older voice and now the song centers me and brings me comfort. I hear it now as a rueful acceptance that life is tough and yet is still worth holding on to.

At the Joyful Flight exhibit, I was particularly fascinated by this mirrored hummingbird. The reflections caused its appearance to change depending on where you stood to look at it. At first, with all the green, I thought it was filled with holes and then realized instead it was covered in round mirrors. I want that to be me - not defined by cancer or what is taken from me, but reflecting back what is good and life-affirming around me.
People have assured me that I am strong and brave enough to handle the path I find myself on.  I have felt anything but that. Then I remembered what I have often told my own patients - that being brave isn't about being unafraid. When you aren't afraid, courage isn't even required. Bravery is about doing what you need to do in spite of your fear. So I am leaning hard into my fear and moving forward. My first surgery is in the morning, and again I ask for your good thoughts to guide the hands of my surgeons and carry me through whatever treatment and recovery is ahead. Life has been brought sharply into focus for me and I hope to come out the other side of all this stronger and more appreciative of life in all its messy glory.

"I'm changing, arranging,
I'm changing,
I'm changing everything,
Everything around me."

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