Before I was diagnosed with cancer in 1999, I rarely crossed the boundary between comfort and discovery; now I race to keep up with my expanding awareness. Before my surgery, I viewed life’s impermanence as unsettling and abstract; now I smile at the whimsical changeability of life and I honor the moment. Before treatment, I was blissfully unaware of my body’s vulnerability; now I cherish the fragile gift of being a human. Before I became a survivor, and, later a thrivor, I undervalued the spirit; now I depend on it to show the power of the possible.
When I thought of them at all, I once saw my mind, body, and spirit as distinct, independent entities. Now I see that they are one and the same, one of the millions of fine strands that make up the Divine Thread, and that this thread touches everything and is without beginning and without end.
Cancer is as much a part of Namasté as a Sherpa’s calm smile, or the taste of Mackinac Island fudge, or kids with puppies, or the weddings and funerals of lifelong friends. All these things are spiritual nudges that whisper to us: Moments…not years.
Cancer does, of course, mean physical pain and mental anguish, not only for the patient but also for caregivers, friends, and family. Cancer is not easily accepted as a gift, but people are often better for the experience, even those who must bury the bodies and console the loved ones.