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This Is Life With Chronic Illness

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Truth be told, sometimes the hardest lessons to learn are the ones your spirit needs the most.

These two pictures are 48 hours apart. That’s how quickly life can change. That is how quickly life with cancer and invisible illness can change.

At the beginning of the week, I posted a video explaining the chemotherapy I had been on was no longer working. The tumor on my brain has grown and stopped responding to treatment. I woke up that morning, put on a full face of makeup and a cute pair of jeans, and headed into a “normal” scan appointment. Within six hours I was home after undergoing a new course of invasive direct tumor chemotherapy.

My bright eyes and pink skin turned grey and pale within hours. My spirit was shaken and my soul was grieving to turn back the clock back 48 hours. Dressed to the nines, holding my glass of champagne by the water, without fearing cancer test results. I wanted to go back in time. But sometimes the future changes quickly. And we are left with only one choice…. what to do next.

We can choose to be afraid of it, assuming the worst. Or we can step forward into the unknown and assume it will be fabulous. Knowing there is one constant in life and that is change. We can try and resist, we can try and turn back the clock and cling to yesterday. Or we can lean into faith knowing that our stories have a purpose.

I choose to share my story to help demystify cancer, autoimmune and even life. This week I had to look at life’s lessons and let go. I had to allow life’s lessons to strengthen my soul, my virtues and my beliefs. Freeing myself from the past I cannot change or go back to. Looking ahead and focusing on just one step at a time. Recognizing I don’t need to conquer the entire mountain right now.

I will continue to wade in the discomfort of the unknown with vulnerability and truth. I will be brave and face my fears so they don’t become my limits. A diagnosis doesn’t come with an instruction booklet. No one tells you how to handle or manage your days. Most days we push through the pain, the exhaustion, the fatigue, the brain fog, the fear and mountains of guilt. In the blink of an eye our life can change because of our disease. Our goals, dreams and priorities are forced to take a different turn. So we become grateful for the little things and worry less about the big things. We leave behind the history of yesterday and determine how we will use today’s energy. This is life with chronic illness.

Originally published: October 6, 2020
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