I came into oncology today, not to hear if I had cancer but the ‘how bad is it’ version.
Oncology wards are odd places. Yet here we are, Steve and I. The room feels too small for the number of people in here. The closeness takes my breath away, although possible that’s just my collapsed lung. There are at least three doctors. Maybe there were more, I’m not sure. I was only focusing on one of them. The one sitting straight in front of me. He’s very intense. He’s the one talking.
He tells me my only option is to go home and put my affairs in order.
My ‘affairs’ have never been that out of order, so that’s not going to take long. And then what? What comes after putting my affairs in order? Wait, wait to die? I’ve never been patient; I have never been good at waiting.
Hold on a minute, my life contract is not with this funny little oncology man sitting in front of me. My life contract is not with a man dressed in long socks, sandals, and walking shorts. I was born in the 70’s. I recognise those clothes. How do you get clothes to last that long?
If I have a life contract with anyone it’s with the big guy upstairs, not this guy. At this point God seems far more reasonable to negotiate with. I’m thinking negotiation skills aren’t a trait they look for in oncologists.
He’s still talking, what does he think he could say after “You have zero percent chance of living 18 months plus” that is going to make me feel better?
Why is he still talking? I’m not listening.
I’m aware of Steve’s hand; his left hand is holding my right hand. I can feel the touch of his skin, it is so much harder than mine. Our hands always cup together so neatly, like we fit. And we do. Fit that is. We fit together in so many ways. Our legs are touching, but not the skin. Our hands are gripping! We are holding on to each other so tightly. Its like we are both scared that I might slip away right there and then.
He’s still talking; I’m still not listening. Steve and I are still holding onto each other, but there is something else. I can hear something. Something inside of me.
Silence. I like it. For a moment there is silence. I am calm.
I hear a whisper; it is ever so faint. However it is clear and in its faintness it is also powerful.
“You are going to die, one day… Now how are you going to live?”
Be HAPPY. Go NATURAL. Be GRATEFUL.
If I have just 365 days then I’m going to be happy (well as much as I possibly can). I don’t have the luxury of time to have a ‘bad day’.
If I have just 365 days then I’m going to go natural, for as long as I possibly can. No drugs. Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. Natural theories. Do what feels right for as long as it feels right. Rest + space + recovery = less running round from appointment to appointment. More me time, connect with me, what I feel is right for me. Be aware, of my body, of my mind, just be aware. Breathe and be aware!
If I have just 365 days, then I’m going to be grateful. What for? At this point in time I have no idea what for – fingers crossed it will come to me. Maybe I can start with the 25% of my lungs that are working. Thank you for the 25% of my lungs that do work and fingers crossed that tomorrow it might be 26%, however for today thank you for the 25%.
Yes, I’m aware that 75% of my lungs are either collapsed or have infection, tumour, or activity in them, however thank you. I am so incredibly grateful for the 25% that is carrying the load and doing a good job.
Thank you for everyone, for every moment. Thank you. Just thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
It’s time to go. I politely thank them.
In this moment, it’s time to get out of here. I need air. I need to breathe. Not this stale air, not this smell of death, and not this sadness in the air of stolen hope.
I burst through the doors to be greeted by sunshine and birds singing and a chilled breeze. It gives me goose bumps. I feel like I escaped just in time. Breathe, no need to speak, just breathe. I am aware of my own beating heart and my own natural rhythm of breath.
He specialises in disease; he knows about cancer. That’s not what I’m looking for. I’m looking for wellness – I’m in the wrong place for answers. Definitely in the wrong place for me.
And so my journey began… my 365-day journey of mindful innate healing.
Di Foster is a voice of hope. After a terminal cancer diagnosis, she embraced her last 365 days with gratitude to living in each moment. Eight years later and after experiencing a radical remission, she now shares her story.
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