“Playing with your life or is it destiny, that sets you on a path?”
What are the Chances
I am almost 3 years cancer free. I was diagnosed right after the holidays, in early February 2014. At least I got to enjoy my Christmas at Disney with the kids and family before hell took over. I had cancer growing inside of me when I was walking around the Magic Kingdom, screaming on rides, watching parades and eating Dole Whips (anyone that goes to Disney knows what I am talking about). But nobody sent me the memo. When I found out, one of the first things I thought was “how could I feel okay and not sick with such a destructive and aggressive disease taking over my insides? A common cold makes me feel like complete shit, but cancer didn’t really make me feel anything!”
When I reflect back on my life now as someone who had cancer, I know everything has happened the way it was supposed to. Things either worked out or they didn’t, for a reason.
My husband manages a hotel for a company that has hotels in many states. I’d been telling him that I wouldn’t mind moving closer to my friends and parents who are in Florida, so when an opportunity arose in Atlanta I was all over it. I researched the area, the houses, how far it would be to drive down to Orlando for a weekend, the cost of living, schools. I looked at things to do, places to go on weekends and where I would shop. I had never been to Atlanta, but I was all in. And excited.
The job didn’t work out and I was devastated. I wanted to move there so badly and couldn’t think about the fact that we would be all alone with no family or friends at all, in a city I’d never even been to. All I could think about was the pretty 2-story house that I found online and had practically already moved into.
What I realize now is if that happened, then I would have been in Atlanta alone for my cancer journey. My mom wouldn’t have known the doctor that would care for me. I would have had a much rougher time with it all. Here, I had Michael’s parents to help out with the kids when we needed it. I had a doctor that my mom knew well, which gave me comfort. Also, I happen to live near some of the best plastic surgeons that specialize in my type of surgery. Women come from all over the country for their expertise. And they are 20 minutes from me.
I know that I had cancer for a reason too. Not only have I changed they way I live my life because of it, but I finally feel my “calling”. I’ve always said to myself “I need to start volunteering more”, but time always gets away from me. Every Thanksgiving, I envision myself plopping down scoops of mashed potatoes on the plates of the homeless. Every Christmas, I picture myself all decked out in the cutest elf costume delivering gifts to the poor children. But I never actually do it. I have the heart for these things, that’s for sure, but time just gets away from me and it is always too late. But now giving back is so easy and natural. And there is no structure, which I love. It can be a quick message to someone going through chemo, a blog post, or meeting someone for coffee that is in town for surgery. It can be as easy as a simple kind word or two. There are no rules.
I used to get so upset when things didn’t work out or the going got tough. Not anymore. I just know it will be all right and I will look back at it and go “aaahhhh, so that’s why…”