Scared of what lies ahead for me, I'm often caught in a cycle of worry, fear and uncertainty. I hate the fact that this cancer has shown up. I'm angry at it and what I need to do to fix it.
As a result, all sorts of "what ifs" pass through my thoughts on a daily basis. They hover like a gnat attracted by some ripening bananas.
What if I don't do well with the chemo treatment? What if I get some of the side effects of radiation? What if it the surgery goes poorly? What if they find more lymph nodes or cancer during surgery? What if the colostomy bag doesn't work? What if I need more chemo?
What if... what if... what if...
I try to swat them away, but they return with annoying frequency, buzzing around my brain. They seem attracted to my fear.
But, in those times when I stop, quiet myself and connect to this moment I'm in right now, another thought whispers within me.
Life is not happening to me, it is happening for me.
And, from that perspective, new, more powerful "what ifs" emerge.
What if this diagnosis is for my good?
What if this cancerous growth in me is a gift?
What if this sickness will save me?
What if the lessons that come in this process are part of a bigger, more valuable gift I have to give the world? Is there a greater good being birthed in this rectal cancer reality?
In these new "what if" questions, and the others that appear along with them, a bigger, more courageous part of me emerges.
From them, at least most of the time, I feel confident and ready for what is ahead.