A seasoned traveler setting out on an arduous journey knows there will be unexpected twists and turns along the way. These bumps in the road may temporarily deflect you from the intended path, but will not fundamentally alter the trajectory towards your desired destination if you keep your eyes on the prize.
Since diagnosis over a year ago, my destination has been remission. My end goal has been to kick cancer’s ass--to outpace it, outwit it, and outlast it. I’ve certainly encountered my fair share of potholes, detours, and even a raging dumpster fire or two during my quest. But the richest experiences often entail a few challenges along the way, right?
When I look back at my journey, survey my scars and bruises, and relish my accomplishments, I feel proud. I have kicked ass. I’ve faced down fears and pushed through pain. I feel stronger despite my flabby muscles. My life feels more full because the connections with my loving community are deeper and wider than they were before I began sauntering down my path.
When I look forward, I see a mirage. I see a finish line that has moved farther from sight, despite it recently appearing attainable and expending so much energy to reach it. Did I unknowingly set a 5k pace for an ultramarathon, and am I about to bonk out of the event for which I’m betting my life to win? If it turns out that I can’t reach the finish line, can I be compassionate to myself and concede? These questions are popping up more often for me lately.
I’m losing ground in my battle and I know it’s true—not only because my doctors are saying so, but because my body is speaking to me. After Dave and I have devoted so much of our lives to this cause, accepting that I may not reach my desired destination seems impossible. Even harder is finding the self-compassion to allow myself to concede. I do recognize that I always maintain control over how I continue to walk my path. Control is power. As I now choose to forego additional treatment, I feel empowered.
I accept that cancer will one day outlast me physically, and I will concede my body. However, my warrior spirit is non-negotiable and immutable; it can never be taken from me and will never fade. I define what my journey means to me, and how I choose to walk it each day that I’m able;I am eternally victorious.