a letter to myself

Post 1 - lead letter writing pic


Dearest Emily,

Dear one … your world will be turned upside down tomorrow. The call will come with the news you’ve been fearing … you will feel yourself sinking and the world spinning and the dark cloud will descend.  The sobs and heartache will overwhelm and feel like it’s a bad dream that won’t lift.

You’ll wonder if the dark cloud looming over you will ever go away.

I tell you now, with the gentlest of deep assurances, that it will. And sooner than you think. Even ten days from now, you will start to feel lifting. You will wake up not terrified by the dark reality of a new day, but taking real steps already toward driving this journey, empowered with choices being made that are already healing your body.

There is SO much: so much to learn, so many decisions – hard, enormous ones – so many choices each day and it feels overwhelming.  It IS.

Yet know this: YOU WILL HEAL. You will learn so much and as your dear acupuncturist will remind you: you will learn to really listen to your body. Better each day.

And you’ll listen to your heart … even to your breath, as you learn yoga and truly begin to understand how essential still-ness is to your healing.

You will try many healing modalities, never wanting to miss what could be “the one” for you: reiki, massage, sauna, acupuncture, chiropractic. You will find that sauna is an unexpected treasure; that after each session, you will feel invigorated and refreshed and WELL (perhaps the low body temps – 97* – speaks to your body needing this, as you’ll learn that cancer does not like heat and your dear integrated oncologist will suggest going as often as you can).

You will research and read and study and always, dig deep and seek insight and ideas and tools for your journey. You will find so many, and they will become a part of your healing … a part of your life. Because how you live in this time of treatment (and after) does matter, and your deep resolve will be your guide in walking this journey with the tools you’ve learned.

You will learn that the seeking of second and third opinions breathes life and changes the course of yours.

And in seeking those opinions, a few times you’ll go in with an agenda of wondering if you should do option A or B, and they will suggest option C. And your world will shake – again – but your intuition will connect and their words resonate and you will decide: courage not fear, and you will make the best decision.

And there will be countless difficult conversations with doctors and you will speak truth and ask hard questions and  be the “difficult patient” at times and some will defend hard their positions, but others, the really good ones, they will tell you that you – the difficult patients -are the ones they *prefer,  that they wish all their patients were like this. And your research will confirm that being this way is a good thing – that holding the guiding belief that you are in fact in charge of your body and the driver in your healing, not a passive recipient, bodes well for treatment outcomes. So … keep stepping into that tension, even when it feels hard, because you’re worth it.

You will meet grace – both receiving and extending it to yourself – in ways beyond what you’ve even thought you’ve known before. You’ll learn the gentle rhythms of your body, what it needs, and allow yourself to step in to that tender space often … knowing that pouring in to the nourishment and care of you is beautiful and needful.

Emily, you can do hard things.

You will walk in to procedures and appointments and be terrified; you will sit while enduring physical pain and deep hurt and that moment will be excruciating but you will get through that moment – and all of the moments. And you will see how much stronger you are than you could have known.

And, oh the kindness! The extravagant, overwhelming kindness and generosity that will be poured in to your life and the intimacy of friendships and relationships that already are so deep and sweet … beyond what you could even imagine.

You will be loved so well.

And the comfort of the gracious love offered so abundantly by those in your life will pale next to the deep soul comfort you will experience in the presence of your Creator, Who will hold you and bring you comfort and wisdom and peace. He will remind you of His promises and you will claim them and know that as you “walk through the valley of the shadow of death, i (you) will fear no evil.”

The richness of the lessons learned – the forever life-changing lessons about your body and this life and love – those lessons will forever color the canvas of the beautiful future that will unfold.

You are known and loved,

Emily (January 7, 2017)

originally published january 7, 2017

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One thought on “a letter to myself

  1. Wow! Only wish I could have had that kind of support. Had bilateral mastectomies, several years ago, and tests determined that it was all contained in the tissue they removed, thus, I would not need chemo or radiation. At the time it seemed to me that they left a lot of tissue, not sure why, just seemed that way. Years later, probably ten or more, I had a ventral hernia repaired. For whatever reason, I bled into the stomach cavity, developed a staff infection. Shortly there after, there was a lump on my chest wall, which was determined to be another breast cancer. The surgeon happened to be an oncologist as well, during this time he told me, I was a “survivor” , I did admit to being a bit stubborn which he said was a good thing. Tests determined it had all been in the tissue removed, between the surgeon, an hematology and oncologist, and a radiation oncologist they determined I should have radiation and follow with Tamoxifen. They tried two or three other similar drugs but it turned out I was allergic to them. Had taken Tamoxifen before, they finally said it was best to do the Tamoxifen again but may have to take it longer. (My oncologist presented my case before a group she met with.)

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