Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world. We cannot cure the world of sorrows but we can choose to live in joy. – Joseph Campbell
You have inoperable cancer. We can treat you with chemo and radiation. At best, we consider this palliative. These words seem to ricochet off the ceiling of the airplane and penetrate deeper and deeper. I attempt to read the Dalai Lama’s newest release. His usual comforting words seem to fall off the edge of the page. I hear the Boeing 767 engine rev. In five hours we will land in California. I remind myself to breathe deeply. Didn’t I read somewhere it is impossible to feel fear when one breathes deeply? Flying is a phobia of mine. Oh heck, let’s be honest. Dying is a phobia of mine.
I will be treated like I am going to live, I say to myself and anyone else who will listen. Thankfully, the Californian doctors are up for the task. Two months into treatment, I am more sick than I can imagine and looking for the ever elusive rainbow at the end of the tunnel. I have taken a great leap of faith and landed in the arms of trust with Reiki as my constant companion. Why is it so dark? I am grateful for the most basic things: sleep, dry toast and the strength to make it to the bathroom.
The soul who is my mate is worried. I can see it in his eyes. My hair is falling out in handfuls. Blessed with a resilient nature, I remind myself I live a charmed life. My daughters and my brothers are here for a short visit. The warmth of their love comforts me. I say goodnight and snuggle into bed. I hear the bedroom door open and close quietly. The three souls the Great Universe gifted me climb into bed with me and we giggle like school girls. ReJOYcing in each other’s presence, enJOYing the undeniable bond we share, we bask in the JOY of pure love. Here is your rainbow, Reiki whispers.
After four months of chemo and radiation treatment, I am going home tomorrow, cancer free. I glance at the keychain attached to my purse and smile. Purchased at a little shop in LAX for five dollars, “Peace love and California sun” has been my mantra to carry with me to every treatment. It has carried me through the darkest of days and the agony of treatment. Before cancer (B.C.), would I have felt the depth of JOY I now feel? I wonder. As every cancer patient will attest to, after diagnosis (A.D), life takes on new meaning. Time IS relevant.
Sitting at a beachside café, watching the California sun settle in behind Catalina Island, it is not difficult to let go of the day’s worries and be JOYfully lifted by Mother Nature’s colourful celebration of the day’s end. Her gift to us, it would seem, for a day well lived. Humbled by the splendour of her artistry, I bow my head and whisper to Reiki “Thank you for this day and this healing”.
~ Nancy Bennett
Thanks Nancy, for sharing this glimpse of your journey through treatment for cancer. Your story and life inspire and awe those of us who are blessed to know you, and surely those too who don’t. ~ Lucy