March is my Cancer Anniversary month. March puts me in a funk. I was diagnosed with breast cancer thirteen years ago. It may seem ridiculous that it took me that long to realize why I hate March. Most of the year I don’t spend much time thinking about it. I have moved on. I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a gardener, counselor and hypnotherapist. Cancer does not define me.
Then March hits, and I have difficulty staying focused and in the moment. I find myself out of balance, teetering with distraction unable to catch my breath. March is fickle, beautiful and warm with the promise of spring one day, only to be plunged back into the bluster of winter the next. March is my reminder that life is unpredictable, often out of control. I am only along for the ride, enjoying the warm days and weathering the stormy ones.
As the end of March nears, I begin musing, what would my life be like without the journey through cancer. Would I be the same person that I am now? Would I understand the importance of each day I have gained?
I often describe cancer as the best horrible thing that has happened to me. Experiencing the cancer journey has given me the perspective to:
Acknowledge my inner strength; fully appreciate the opportunity I have had to watch my daughter grow into the wise and beautiful woman she has become; understand that my husband really does love me, for better or worse, because cancer took us to worse and back again; experience the magnitude of my support system through the outpouring of encouragement from my friends, family and community.
I am not the same person I was before cancer. In a perfect world, I would have chosen not to have cancer, but that is not the reality and surviving through adversity added richness and depth to my life, as well as unpredictability and chaos. There is something freeing about acknowledging that life is out of control. Life happens at its own pace. I only control how I act and react in each moment of each day. I am here to participate with wild abandon.
I give myself permission to hate March and welcome April.