One year later…

1yearCfree

This is it. This month, last year, I was diagnosed with stage 3 Ovarian Cancer. Resulting in the following 6 months of (very brutal) chemotherapy. Chemotherapy which nearly killed me. Where I was so sick, that I eventually spiraled far, far down into the deepest depths of my own personal Hell. A Hell, in which I honestly was not sure that I would ever escape from.

But thanks to the mercy of God, the radiance of my then 3 year old daughter, and the daily support of my Mom, I fought my way out. And survived. And am here, currently in remission, one year later, living each day within the sheltering grace of this miracle. This 2nd chance at life. A 2nd chance which has changed nearly every aspect of who I am, as a wife, mother, and woman.

And so, in celebration of this 1 year remembrance, I’d like to share some of the most important things that I have learned within this past year. Things that I once took for granted, in so many various ways.

Firstly, being who I am as a Mother. Like most mothers, particulary mothers of younger children, before my cancer diagnosis, I struggled every day with the feeling of not being good enough. Where because of my depression and social anxiety, I wasn’t doing nearly as much as I should have been doing for & with my little girl. Where I foolishly believed that my daughter would be less happy because of not doing the many things & activities that I had seen so many other mothers of 3 year olds doing.  A feeling of inadequaetcy which became completely debilitating while I was undergoing those 6 hellish months of chemotherapy, when I could barely walk, more of less move from bed. It wasn’t until I had survived those 1st four months, when I truly understood what my mom & oldest sister kept reminding me. This being that it didn’t matter that I wasn’t able to take my daughter to the playground anymore, or be on the floor actively playing games with her, or hold her in my arms throughout the night. Because at the end of the day, no matter the many things that I wasn’t able to do, the one thing that mattered more than anything else to HER was that I showed that I loved her. Through a kiss, or hug, or held hand. It was that simple, through those simple actions of affection, to give her what she wanted, and needed, most. Because to her, then, as well as today, I AM enough for her. My love will ALWAYS be enough.

Another thing that I’ve learned most deeply, from then to now, is that every day is a reason to celebrate. Every day that I rise, with my family of 6 snuggled up besides me in our big bed, and every night when I rest my head, is a miracle in and of itself. Where the many moments within each hour, make up the whole of my life. The completion of my heart. Without the guarantee of another tomorrow. Since I now know, perhaps more so than most, how nothing is guaranteed in this life, and that everything (be it good or bad) is fleeting. And everything (EVERYTHING) is a blessing granted. Being able to tinker away in my kitchen, creating a new cake. Jumping in my car, by myself, and drive wherever is needed. Reading a full book again, without becoming completely overwhelmed. Doing the dishes, and mopping  the floor, and folding the laundry, all on my own. Taking my daughter to her favorite playground, where we’ll run around playing hide & seek, and climb rocks together. Being ACTIVE. All miracles to me, in their own little yet incredibly special ways. All blessings, to be cherished, and remembered.

All because God granted me this 2nd chance of life. A 2nd chance that I will strive my hardest to celebrate. Every new day. Every new moment. Because this life, be it busy or slow, is worth rejoicing in.

So tonight, as I push “publish” on this post, one year after my life was flipped upside down, and torn apart, I hope that no matter what you may be experiencing in life, you’ll always be able to breathe your way through it. And celebrate it for the miracle that it is.

“Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”

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