Parting Ways

It has been awhile since I have earned a Certificate of Achievement or any type of certificate for that matter, but of all of the ones I have received, none mean more to me than this one.  I completed radiation therapy, and I was awarded this certificate by the radiation team.  It was a light-hearted way to mark the end of another breast cancer milestone, but it ended up being much more to me.

As I completed my final treatment, I found myself feeling a bit sad, as I said good-bye to the team of amazing people I have entrusted my recovery to for the past month.  I will not miss beginning my day being radiated, but I will miss the people who took such great care of me and showed me kindness and compassion.  I suck at farewells, even ones that are inevitable.  As I pulled away from the treatment center, Pearl Jam’s “Parting Ways” was playing on satellite radio, which was appropriate and bittersweet on a number of levels.

As this part of my treatment comes to an end, I feel like other aspects of my life are ending, as well.  Some of these endings are by my own doing, while other endings are most certainly not.  With each end or ‘good-bye’, there are varying degrees of grief and loss, and there is a mixture of fear and excitement about the future that awaits me.  Right now, I feel as if I am standing on shaky ground, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and I am surveying life’s landscape searching for a soft spot to land.

For awhile now, I either have known or sensed that some of these endings were in the works, but now that some of them are here, with others in the offing, I am not entirely sure what to do. I cannot, and don’t necessarily want to, return to how my life was unfolding prior to being diagnosed with breast cancer, but I am not sure how to begin again.

As my wise friend and mentor, Trude, reminded me over tea this morning, anxiety is a sign that something is out of balance and that it is time to change course.  As I take stock of the signs, I am allowing myself to accept the uncertainty and to begin to trust that all of these endings will lead me to far greater beginnings than I can imagine, or at least, I am trying to do this.  Today, I am focused more on resting, as the fatigue and shortness of breath have yet to end, but they will.  Everything comes to an end eventually.  Everything.

As I adjust the course of my life, I look at that simple piece paper and remind myself of a few lessons that I have both learned and earned along the way:

  • I am strong enough to handle anything, even when I am scared, sad, anxious, or doubtful.
  • I am committed to doing whatever I can to heal and recover, even when the process is painful.
  • I am capable of giving a great deal or my love and affection to other people, even when I am the one in need.
  • I am capable of dreaming and achieving great things, even when the odds seem insurmountable.

What I have achieved so far pales in comparison to what I know I can and will do.  But first, I will take a nap.

That’s another story . . .

Categories: That's Another Story

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6 replies

  1. So glad your treatment has ended. I understand your ambivalence though. You are one of the strongest most resilient women I know Kristi Jo but with a wonderful acceptance of your vulnerability. Rest well…there is still time to dream.

  2. Good luck, Kristi Jo, as this next chapter begins. And naps are important!!!

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