I once read of a little girl who, when she was asked how old she was, replied, “I’m me.”
“Yes, but how old are you?”
When you think about it, the words of that little girl are actually quite profound. It didn’t matter how many years she lived—she was still “Me”. And that applies to cancer too. A diagnosis of cancer doesn’t change who we are.
When I received a diagnosis of cancer, so much changed about me.
- I had to stop nursing.
- I went from being hyperactive to hypo-active.
- My priorities and interests changed.
- Many relationships changed, some for the better—others not.
- My dreams for the future changed. (Would I still have a future?)
- My emotions changed. At times I was an emotional wreck as I bounced around on the cancer roller-coaster.
- I stopped drinking ten cups of coffee a day and started to drink rooibos tea.
- Even my choice of reading material and television programs changed.
But I remained “Me”
I have to admit there were times I didn’t recognise “Me”. I reacted in ways unlike the “Old Me”. (Or was I really behaving like the “Real Me”?) Things that used to bring me joy now bored me. My hobby of creating cards for others morphed into collecting cards from others. But deep down, in the hidden recesses of my mind, I was still “Me”.
- I still loved, and I still needed to be loved.
- I continued to encourage others, even as I craved their encouragement.
- I enjoyed company, although I often grew tired and longed for them to go home.
- My husband and kids remained the centre of my universe, even though that universe had shrunk, and my world had spun off its axis.
I was still “Me”
I am now approaching 17 years post-diagnosis. Cancer no longer rules my thoughts 24/7, although I admit, it’s never far away. My book, Strength Renewed, Meditations for Your Journey through Breast Cancer, uses many of my experiences in the cancer valley to encourage others. Life is good. Because you see, I’m still “Me”.
Cancer also didn’t change God
- He was still there, in control—although sometimes I wondered if He’d taken a break. (Couldn’t blame Him!)
- He never stopped loving me, and—when I allowed Him to—He guided me.
- He was always there when I turned to Him, ready to hold me close.
- He still had a plan for my life. (How great that He believed I still had a life!)
- He continued to lead me in the way I needed to go, even if at times He had to hold onto my hand tightly—like you do with a squealing toddler.
Yes, God remained God.
Many things changed. But the little girl had it right. I am still “Me”. And God is still “God”. And as long as those two constants remain, life has meaning.