Last year at this time, I was really ill.
I tried to downplay it and pretend everything was okay. And then on December 31st, I ended up in emergency at Toronto General Hospital sporting a raging fever. It took a lot of effort for my family to insist that I go to the hospital, and I resisted them every step of the way. After all, who wants to spend New Year’s Eve at the hospital? We did and made it as special as we could.
Fast forward to today – – my second New Year’s Eve day with Multiple Myeloma. 365 days later and I am feeling on top of the world – energized and excited about life. Living life to the fullest. Living fearlessly, without compromises. Living with impunity. Yes, there are vestiges that cancer leaves behind; the scars from the Hickman line; the pain from the monthly bone strengthening treatment; the tiredness that can take over my body at a moment’s notice. But these are minor inconveniences for the gift of being alive!
Cancer has the ability to make milestones feel even more important. Milestones like New Year’s and birthdays take on a new meaning because there is the lingering feeling that, if the stats are correct, my cancer will come back in the next 18 to 24 months, and that’s two New Year’s Eves away. I don’t worry about this much at all; I use it to make every day — and every milestone — count.
I love the quote from Lao Tzu. “What the caterpillar calls the end, the rest of the world calls a butterfly.” Life is a series of endings and new beginnings. We can choose to end those things that no longer serve us well. We can take the courage to start things that we know we must. In the past year, I have made a lot of choices. The one I am most proud of is that I no longer worry about what might happen, and instead make every moment count. It took a long time to come to this place. I had to suspend judgment, be less controlling and more accepting, and have faith that everything will work out. Faith certainly beats worrying!
So, tonight, I will celebrate! Happy New Year everyone. May the new year bring peace in the world, good health to all, and joy and laughter in your lives!
I invite you to watch the segment called “Losses, Endings and New Beginnings” which is an excerpt from “Munira’s Journey”. Please click on the link below: