Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Dancing With Death
Have you ever stopped and thought about what you would do, how you would react or even how you would cope with a breast cancer diagnosis? It happens everyday, to both women and men, to families, mothers, fathers, wives, husbands and the list goes on and on. I know because I am one of them.
Honestly, if you saw me on the street now you wouldn't look and say , "hey that women, had breast cancer!" Nope, honestly those of us who have walked a mile or two with Beastie here, the truth is we have gotten fairly good at hiding our scars from the world. Once we live past the initial shock, after they whack off our breast(s) and all our hair falls out, then grows back in, we get pretty good at disguising our experience with the Beast. But the truth is we still Tango with cancer, with her consorts and with our scars, sometimes they are reminders of pain, other times they are bittersweet memories of victory.
The Beast, the monster within, well she's clever. She may allow you to lock her up, banish her to the dog house but the truth is we live each day with her, with this beast on a chain dragging her around with us don't we? As soon as a headache doesn't go away or a cough sets in doing time in our lungs she creeps back into our thoughts reminding us she's never gone, nope, she's just hanging around on that ball and chain we've tied her to out back.
Cancer is a bully a seriously, mean, deceitful, aggressive bully, waiting around the corner in the hope of surprising you when you lest expect her. The thing is this: My hope is not in reliving another round with the beast. Second: I don't like bullies, so you can say Cancer and I have had some major all out fights about her place in my life. For one, I am simply way too busy to die! Seriously, have you seen my to do list recently? Death is just not on my list of things to do right now! Sure, I know she likes to lurk, to peek around from corners, to play hide and seek ( though I don't hide, I just ring her bell and run!) and she likes to taunt us every chance she gets. Personally, I remind her on a daily basis, that she doesn't have the deck of cards in her hands, nope, my Father in Heaven does. So until He says, Death it's time, and Death allows the beast out of her cage, simply put: I'm not going anywhere! It's as simple and as easy as that.
This beast and her friend death have no hold on me. I have to giggle every time Death has come for me ( and from the time I was a child she has tried many times) God pushes her back. I tell her from time to time, just so she and I are clear, that she has the wrong memo in her hand. I certainly didn't get it, and I'm not going anywhere just because the BEAST has placed a bounty on my head! In my crazy, silly way, I have always imagined her in a pink, mini robe, pink high heels, dark black sunglasses and a glimmering sickle, hood pulled up walking around behind me, sitting down beside me with a "what's up" node just waiting on the "Go" from above.
So how can I joke about death and this man eating beast? Well, because I have faced death, I have looked her square in the eyes and wet my pants. I have felt the fear take hold, come for my life as I have screamed , no, not yet and yes I have even felt my life start to slip away from this fleshly body as my baby boy watched his mom begin her first steps toward Heaven. I have had more than enough time to dance with death and this personal beast of mine to know that they have no control of today, no right to steal me away before I am called home. I am not going to say I am ready to jump up and down, screaming pick me, pick me! No, what I am saying is I have been given a second lease on life, a new beginning, a chance to appreciate every moment I am given, to hold my children, to kiss my husband at the end of the day, to rejoice in those little moments we share together as a family, to celebrate another birthday, to enjoy a good meal, to lay my head down and rise again the next morning to the annoying sound of the alarm. Life is full of moments, sadly moments we take for-granted and dancing with death has a way of reminding you how many we waste complaining the whole way.
The real truth my friends is this: the real blessings we receive come from our tears, from the pain, the suffering we feel. How can I say this? Well, the truth is I know I am alive, able to feel, to love and to experience all God has to offer me while I can still feel pain. Cancer, diabetes, a mini stroke and all the other countless conditions I have been blessed with can never take my joy. Not a one of them can take my life until my name is called home to the Father who has created me. So for now, I am just too busy to take death's hand, but one day peace will come and speak my name quietly. When that day comes I will not fear the unknown because I will be ready, knowing I have lived a life full of love, joy, pain and so many more unspoken blessings to count. Above all I know my children and my husband will be secure in His hands. I know this beyond a shadow of a doubt because of both the pain and suffering, because of His grace, His mercy, and His foresight to give me a second lease on life.
Without my dance with disease, with death and with the Beast tied up in my back yard how would I be able to appreciate all He has given me ? The truth is, I wouldn't because I would have continued to spend my life taking all the blessing's surrounding me for granted, complaining about what I do not have. Instead because of the pain, of the suffering I have been allowed to experience, I am truly a life reborn. My life has been restored, I have been given a second lease on life, dents and all. So from this day on I choose to be courageous, even on the days I Tango with Death or those nights I hear the Beast howling in the distance, because with His grace I have nothing to fear.