While these song lyrics are about a broken love affair it occurs to me that they apply to any situation in which your heart, body or soul has been broken. At some point, in every cancer survivor’s journey, you reach that point when you realize “I want to live again.”
I’m not sure when that was for me. I never had any intention of dying. But when I first heard this song I knew it meant more to me than surviving cancer. It meant a new beginning; starting over. My life didn’t immediately start over. It wasn’t an instantaneous transformation where one day I was diagnosed with cancer and the next day I suddenly had such insight and clarity into life that I quit my job and changed my lifestyle. No, starting over was (and is) slow and gradual. But I have come to recognize the changes that needed to be made along with the changes that occured simply because.
When I was first diagnosed I was in such shock that I could only focus on the “here and now” of my daily routine. By January 2008 I had finished my law school courses, had my first chemotherapy treatment, and ended my job. I spent 2008 in treatment, studying for the bar exam, and working part-time contract jobs at my former place of employment. By January 2009, I had started my recovery from treatment, passed the bar exam, and took a part-time job at my former institution, in my previous department.
Yes, as part of my journey I clung to the past. I had no direction. I was lost, hurt, and broken. I went back to what I knew, and it helped me heal. I was there until it was time to move on. And now I’m in the place that my heart longed for even before I was diagnosed with cancer. God has a way of giving us our heart’s desire.
In addition to the perfect vocation, I have started to share my story through this blog. I have found a balance with part-time work (that pays) and the ability to care for my health needs as well as supporting my husband in his busy schedule. And I have time to write.
According to the calendar, spring arrived here in New England ten days ago. Passover started on Monday at sundown. And Easter is tomorrow. In some ways, this time of year is really the beginning of the New Year. Spring brings with it warmer temperatures, green grass, and flowers. Passover is a time to remember a new start for the Jewish people. Easter brings the celebration of new life through Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection.
As I reflect on these events I am reminded of my own new beginning. And while I don’t have a specific date when I first began to live again, I celebrate my life with laughter, love, and even take chances with an occasional “roll of the dice.”