The following is my thoughts and feelings of my own personal struggle and battle with cancer.
If I died tomorrow I am grateful for what I know to be true about my life and me. If my heart stops beating, my lungs stop breathing, I know I loved deeply and gave everything I had to give.
I know that no matter what has happened to me in this life, it had a purpose. Whether that purpose was to teach me forgiveness, patience, tolerance or simply unconditional love, it all had a purpose.
Most people battle cancer using Western medicine’s treatment of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. I have battled cancer alone, using alternative therapies. I’ve battled it in bed, the bathroom and in my mind. Most of the people in my life have no idea the extent of the pain I've endured both physically and emotionally. Not to mention the daily mental battles to overcome fear, doubt, sadness and despair.
I've made it through each day drinking nasty herbs, driving to colon therapies, taking endless supplements and searching for cures with my head held high. I've done it alone, without doctors, nurses or a team of caretakers. I’ve continued working, helping others and caring for my children as I would if I were well. I may not be doing everything as perfectly as I would if I was well, or as quickly, but I push through each day as best I can even when I want to scream out loud, throw a tantrum or even quit fighting.
I’m not saying I didn’t have support, I did. I’ve had the love, acceptance and help of God’s human angels appear in my life at just the right moment. My loved ones, while concerned, can only offer support for a battle that I have to fight alone. Until a couple months ago, my dad lived here. He checked on me incessantly, tried to cook for me even though I couldn’t eat most days. I work every day, do what chores I can accomplish and keep the bills paid on time, food on the table, meals prepared, business growing, gardens watered and animals as well as kids taken care of. When it’s time for self-treatments, I hide in the bathroom to administer painful enemas, while crying silently. At night, when the pain is the worst, I hide it and try to fall asleep as quickly as I can, to attempt to outrun it.
Someone once said to me "no child should have to care for their parent..." What she didn’t know or realize, is that my children didn't have to take care of me through this. My youngest daughter, who is 13 years old, helps with chores at times and helps with my granddaughter when she is here. If I stay in bed for the day, she checks on me to be sure I have water, but she has never had to take care of me. I haven’t stopped living because of this disease. I try to not complain about my pain or even let anyone know how much pain I’m in. I’ve hidden it from everyone. Why? Because, I love you, I love you enough to not burden you when it so obviously scares you. I hide it because sharing it will not decrease it’s affects on me but could potentially overwhelm you. Instead, I spend time with you, cook for you, care for you and I’m fighting for my life to spend more time with you.
As I sit writing, all I can think of is, this battle is not over. So I wonder, if this were my last day, did I feel loved? Did I love? Did I give? Did my life count? I did my best to help others, to remain peaceful, to be thoughtful, giving, to grow and stay connected to God. Was I successful at it? Can one ever be sure?
What I am sure of is, I loved deeply, hurt deeply in silence, struggled greatly and remained loyal to God and my calling. No one will ever really know the amount of shear effort it took to get through these last several months or even several years. But I know and more importantly, God knows.
Was it worth it? Yes! Love is always worth it. Does it matter? It does to me. I know that I have done what I can to recognize beauty, to love and to spread it, even when I feel like crap. I get up every single day in gratitude and hopefulness for another miraculous day, the gift of life.
So if tomorrow doesn't come for me, I did my best with what I had. It is enough for me. When I leave this physical body I will fly! I love my kids, I love my family and I love all the people who've crossed my path. I've tried to be kind and sometimes failed but I gave it my best as a human.
I've spent years working on myself, studying, growing, healing past trauma, hurt and illness. Through all of it, I've grown and I like myself. So if today is my last, I am grateful for the experiences and opportunities I’ve had. For the love I gave and received. It has been a good life. I don’t think I’m dying from this cancer, I believe it’s just a bump in the road. A bump that is spiky, rough and unpredictable.
Each day we are given, God grants us the chance to cherish it and make use of it, to be a loving, gentle human upon this beautiful earth. The best gift in life is to have the choice in how we live and express our humanity. I’m proud of who I am and the person I’ve become. I’m not perfect, but I like myself. At the end of the day, and especially at the end of life, that is all anyone can ask.
© 2015 Bernadette Dickinson all rights reserved. Please feel free to share but give credit and reference to the Author.