There is a sense of isolation when dealing with an illness, even recovering from one. I think this is because time slows down when we are sick or healing. Our perspective and focus on life and our circumstances change, forces a sense of simplification of sorts. Illness awakens us, takes us on a deeper journey inside ourselves to find answers, that’s where they live: these answers we seek.
This month I celebrate 3 years graduated from chemotherapy. Nov. 18th to be exact, how could I forget? I thought the hardest year of my life was over at that time, I had survived stage 4 cancer and 11 months of nasty treatments. But in many ways, my journey had just begun at that point.
The last 3 years have been filled with many challenges and joys alike. A year after the treatments, in 2016- I traveled to Thailand, on a solo backpacking adventure for over 3 weeks. It was life changing. I felt as though I wanted to heal more, and explore the world I was almost taken from.
When I came home from Thailand New Year’s Day of 2017, I was 34. I was inspired by my simple life there, and decided to sell my fancy car, and get rid of most of my belongings. It was so freeing. I mean, how much stuff do we really need to be happy?
I turned 35 that year. Many say that 35 is the peak of life. And I would have to say that is the age my life began, truly. Everything leading up to 35 was filled with a lot of confusion, and very very hard lessons. That year, in June I graduated with my Undergrad from Marylhurst University, and a month later I found and fell in love with my soulmate whom I am still very happy with today.
My 35th year was very joyful, my silver lining. It was also filled with much healing to do which I chipped away at daily. Even though life was and is very good, I still suffered with the effects of chemotherapy and trauma. PTSD and depression plagued me then and now.
Depression is a funny beast. Meaning, you can still be happy and content, while still suffering from dark thoughts and apathy. Depression is not new to me. It’s in my blood line, family members currently and deceased suffered from this dark night of the soul.
My cancer trauma, and living in a place that only gets 140 days of sunshine a year aggravated it, and still does. I know what it is now, when these feelings come up, and I have no shame in them. Sometimes I take small doses of Zoloft, just like a diabetic would take doses of insulin to balance their body.
I can’t help but believe that the silver lining in this experience is the journey itself. I have learned so very much about healing the mind, body and soul along the way. I have been my own science experiment; whatever and all I am doing is working, with its ups and downs along the way.
Currently I am studying to become a Integrative wellness coach at Duke University. I finish and graduate this December of 2018. My hope is to take all I have learned and guide others to their path of healing and greatest potential. To encourage and coach them along the way, because let’s face it- healing is hard work, and it’s easy to give up hope.
Sometimes I have no clue why I haven’t given up already, my soul is tired. But deep inside I feel that I am on the right path, and the proof is in the pudding; all I have done to this point has worked and is working. The results have been my coach, my hope, my silver lining.